Gardening For Health – Maintaining Healthy Gardening Habits

A Gardener Gardening
(Image credit: Anna Frank)

It's fairly undisputed that gardening is a healthy outdoor activity. But it is important to take to heart safe gardening tactics so you can enjoy the hobby without causing yourself any damage. Healthy gardening habits go hand in hand with the rest of your self-care regimens. Take some healthy gardening tips from us and pursue your passion forever. 

Developing Healthy Gardening Habits

As a leisure interest, gardening of some sort appeals to almost everyone. It is a stress reducer, gets you out into fresh air, creates beauty and food, and is an activity that those of any age can enjoy. There are also soil microbes that actually enhance your mood. Gardening for health is a pastime rich with possibilities and joys. Just be sure you do it with some safety practices in mind. 

The first order of business is garb. Even if you aren't cutting back a wickedly sharp Pampas grass, you should still protect your skin. Invest in good gardening gloves or claws to make work easier on your hands. Leather gloves are particularly useful for pruning roses and other thorny bushes. A good sunhat will protect your skin from harmful rays and can keep you cooler in hot weather. Wear long sleeves and pants during work on anything sharp or thorny. After you have your gardening attire, use a kneeling cushion or cart to ease your back and help with low chores. 

More Healthy Gardening Tips

Gardening can be a delightful activity, but it can also be stressful to your body. Gardening for health shouldn't cause injuries. Stretch out before you go outdoors. Using light weights in repetition daily can keep muscle tone tight and help avoid strains. Only do as much as you can comfortably. For some gardeners that means all day, while for others it means brief 30 minute sessions, with breaks in between. Remember, this isn't a race. The garden will respond beautifully to shorter sessions, provided they are regular visits. If you’re starting a veggie garden, keep it to a size you can comfortably maintain, and always lift with your knees to prevent back problems. 

Tools for Safe Gardening

There are lots of specially designed tools that can make work easier and more efficient. Ergonomic handles and angled designs on long handled tools help with grip, lifting ease, and more. While the right tools are helpful, so is the manner in which you use them. Avoid repetitive motions that can harm hand and wrist health. Alternate your hands and arms on projects like digging or raking. 

Keep your equipment honed and oiled. This will also make any endeavor less stressful on your body. While you work, don't forget to stay hydrated. This important fluid intake will prevent heat related issues and replace valuable moisture from sweating. Simple tips like these can keep us all gardening well into our elder years.

Bonnie L. Grant

Bonnie Grant is a professional landscaper with a Certification in Urban Gardening. She has been gardening and writing for 15 years. A former professional chef, she has a passion for edible landscaping.