5 tips for gardening with sore joints

(NC) The days are getting longer, the temperature is getting warmer, and many of us are itching to get our hands dirty in the garden again.

Whether you choose to grow colourful blooms or nutritious veggies, gardening can be great for your mind and body. But, if you have arthritis, it can also be hard on your joints.

“There are many benefits that come with gardening, but it’s important to remember to avoid pushing yourself too much,” says Trish Barbato, president and CEO of the Arthritis Society. Here are some tips she shares.

  1. Start low and go slow.
    Gradually increase the amount of time you’re active and the effort you make while gardening. Schedule tasks like weeding, mulching or pruning over several days to avoid overexerting yourself.
  2. Use the right tools.
    Tools with larger grips or extended handles can make many tasks easier for those with arthritis. Use a seat or kneeling pads to avoid putting stress on your knees.
  3. Bring the garden to you.
    If working at low levels is difficult for your joints, consider raised planters or an elevated container garden.
  4. Build in breaks.
    Set an alarm at least every hour to take a 10-minute pause. This will help you avoid stiffness and pain the next day.
  5. Avoid the heavy lifting.
    Carry smaller loads, or better yet, delegate more challenging tasks to family and friends.

Find more information and resources to help you garden at arthritis.ca.

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