Ergonomic Summer Gardening Tips


With summer upon us, many of you may be hitting the garden with new fervor planting bright beautiful flowers, fruits & veggies.

Here are some "ergonomic" tips to keep you "feeling" your best as you garden.

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  • Always use gloves and use a pad for your knees when kneeling
    • Gloves provide padding and to prevent cuts and scrapes
    • Gloves should be form-fitting—thin gloves are preferred; too much padding will decrease hand strength, coordination and power grip
  • Pay attention to handle diameter, size and weight
    • Telescopic and pistol-grip handles require less energy to perform work
    • A curved handle, like ones similar to Radius Garden’s hand trowel, provides more leverage with less wrist stress since it is designed to fit the natural curve of the hand
  • Maintain tools
    • Keep them sharp and oiled—a dull blade will require more effort and force and could lead to injury.
  • Elbows should be kept below heart level as much as possible
    • Use of long-handed tools will minimize discomfort
  • Take periodic breaks
  • Avoid working with your thumbs pointing toward the floor
    • This arm position “wings” your elbow out and reduces your applied strength while adding stress to the body
  • Work with wrists in a neutral position – straight, in line with forearm, and with thumbs up
    • Remember to hold objects with a light grasp or grip
  • Avoid fine-motor repetitive movements such as pinching and pulling, these movements are often used with the finger and the thumb
  • Minimize extended reaches to fewer than 10 to 15 seconds
    • Take short breaks between segments to prevent injury and overexertion
  • Minimize time spent working with your head and neck in an extended position (looking up)
    • Take periodic breaks to avoid fatigue.

 

Now, go outside and get to work!