Sep 21, 2017

Live Well: 7 Tips That Will Keep you Gardening

Stress relief, sunshine, a sense of accomplishment, fresh air—these are just some of the many benefits from gardening. Unfortunately, if you suffer from arthritis, your favorite hobby can become your worst enemy. Simply carrying essential tools or moving between beds can be a challenge. Don’t let arthritis pain force you to give up your green thumb—all you need to keep your garden growing is a better method. Follow these seven tips for gardening with arthritis and your flowers will be blooming in no time.

Change up your routine.

People who have been gardening for a long time usually have an established strategy that gets them through their chores. However, your old method may no longer be the best way if you have arthritis. Repetitive motions that last for hours will exacerbate arthritis symptoms and make you miserable. Spread your gardening chores throughout the week instead of trying to knock them all out in one day or even a weekend.

Stick with your management plan.

Be sure that you are staying in constant communication with your doctor. Work with your physician to ensure you are managing your arthritis as effectively as possible. Be confident in your treatment plan and make sure it’s the best plan for you, whether you are in the garden or out.

Use arthritis friendly tools.

There are many tools geared towards people with arthritis, which are all meant to make life easier. Some are worth the investment whereas others are not. Do some research and find out from your peers what tools will work best for you and your symptoms. Look into longer handled tools that allow you to stand and easy-to-grip hand tools. You can add attachments that lengthen certain tools that help to gain leverage. There are different electric tools available that can be life savers for arthritis sufferers. Invest in a quality kneeling pad or kneepads to help relieve knee joints.

Drink plenty of water.  

We may be approaching fall here in North Carolina but that doesn’t mean we aren’t still experiencing the steamy heat of the south. Be sure to drink lots of water throughout your day of outdoor work. Not only will drinking frequently keep you hydrated on hot days, it helps reduce joint pain by keeping cartilage soft and hydrated.

Work at the appropriate level.

Try to keep your work at waist level. Use a small garden bench instead of squatting or stooping low. If you are working with potted plants, stay standing at a designated table while keeping a cushioned mat under your feet. Also, try to avoid overhead work. Utilize tools with longer handles or an outdoor ladder to reach high places.

Know your body.

Gardening takes a lot of work and arthritis pain can become aggravated, even when you properly rest your body. Take breaks before the fatigue or pain starts. Don’t hesitate to stop for the day and pick up where you left off tomorrow. Enjoy a glass of lemonade and take the time to appreciate your garden’s beauty all while giving your body the rest it deserves.

Get help.

Anyone who is a dedicated gardener probably doesn’t want someone else in their beloved space. Don’t be afraid to look into getting someone to assist with the basic stuff while you focus on the more detailed things. Consider finding someone who can help with heavy lifting, planting and clean up. Save your body for the good stuff!

Gardeners truly love digging in the soil. Most find it therapeutic and extremely beneficial for the mind as well as the body. The aches and pains of arthritis doesn’t mean this has to end. Find a more strategic method that is better for your body. If you have questions, contact Carolina Arthritis Associates. We are happy to discuss a management plan that helps you continue all your favorite hobbies.