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.
- 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!