Sometimes yard work can leave you sore in places you didn’t even now you were stretching or moving. We spend lots of time in unnatural positions, on rough surfaces, doing strenuous activity. But just because lawn work has been tough work, and you are often uncomfortable, doesn’t mean it needs to continue to be so.
It Starts at the Bottom
What many people don’t think about, when it comes to yard work, is that you’ll be on your feet for hours at a time. Simply having a good, supportive pair of shoes instead of going with whatever beaten, worn-down sneakers you have lying around can make a world of difference. If you are uncomfortable on your feet for long periods, you’re not going to get much done.
Ergonomics and Tools
Unlike years gone by, when lawn tools were just blades attached to wooden poles, many of today’s garden tools come with molded handles or ergonomically-modified handles that allow for working from angles that will not make you uncomfortable and put strain on your back or legs. Even older tools can be modified, using slide-on grips or new handles, so you don’t necessarily have to go out and make a major purchase.
Companies like Fiskars and Ames True Temper specialize in making ergonomically sound garden tools, including extending pruners that eliminate the need to reach, and pruners with reverse pivot action that makes the stronger fingers do the majority of the work.
Getting down on your hands and knees to get in the gardens can be difficult. Use a garden stool or a knee pad to prevent achy knees and ankles, and position yourself so as to not strain your back too much, as close to the area you are working on as possible. If you have to sit in a weird position, don’t do it for too long – being uncomfortable in the short-term can turn in to limbs falling asleep.
If you’re not attached to having gardens level with the ground, you can save yourself some backache by putting in raised gardens. By putting the surface area at a height of 24 to 36 inches, you will be able to do much of the work from an upright position, eliminating a lot of strain. An added bonus is that raised beds can help protect gardens from burrowing animals, not to mention that they provide a unique appearance.
Dress the Part
Loose-fitting, well-ventilated clothing will keep you from getting to uncomfortable by allowing for air to cool you and protecting you against the environment. They will keep thorns and pests off of delicate body parts, as well as help to keep you dirt-free. Loose-fitting clothing will also allow for a good range of motion.
So don’t be uncomfortable when you’re out in the yard this summer. Take the opportunity to change up your tools, check your footwear and clothing, and consider changing up your gardens before it’s time to get to work.