Gardening can be a great form of healthful exercise. Depending on the intensity of your garden work, you can get quite a good workout. All that bending, stretching and lifting will keep your body limber and muscles toned. But when done incorrectly it can lead to injury.
Before starting any gardening activity, consider stretching for a few minutes to warm up your muscles and prepare them for the work ahead. And if you take any extended break, do a few more stretches before returning to the task at hand. Also, don't double-dig a whole garden if you've not been exercising regularly.
It's also important to remember to replenish your body fluids while working outside. It's easy to get dehydrated on a hot day while enjoying the sunlight if you don't make a point of replenishing the fluids your body is burning off.
Speaking of that sunlight, make sure to apply plenty of sun block to exposed and unprotected parts of your body before starting your gardening activity. While sun visors will help shade the front of your face, a wider brimmed sunhat hat will also shade the sides and, more important, your ears.
Don't forget that garden safety is another important aspect of healthy gardening. Wear appropriate clothing, safety goggles and ear protection if you plan on using power equipment. Using tools with padded and/or spring loaded handles will reduce stiffness in your arms and hands. Wear knee pads or use a knee cushion or kneeler seat if you plan on spending a lot of time on your knees, and wear gloves to protect your hands.
When using a stepladder, be sure its height is appropriate for the type of job you are doing so you aren't tempted to stand beyond the safety step. Finally, avoid spraying or dusting plants on windy days to reduce the chance of absorbing or exposing your body to harmful chemicals. Keeping these things in mind will help you enjoy a safe and healthy time in your garden. So be safe and have fun!
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