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Tips for avoiding aches and pains

March 29, 2007

Following are some tips designed to help people continue to enjoy gardening as they age.

· Check with a doctor before performing any physical exercise.

· Stretch and warm up to loosen muscles and joints.

· Work during a time of day when stiffness is less of a problem.

· Plant low-maintenance plants that require less care.

· Wear gloves to cushion hands from tools.

· Pace yourself.

· Weed a little, water a little, transplant a little, walk a little.

· Use sunblock because some arthritis medicines cause sensitivity to sun.

· Use larger muscles to do the work.

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· Lift by bending knees rather than bending the back.

· Avoid pinching, squeezing or twisting motions.

· Use seed tape to avoid the repetitive motions of planting one seed at a time.

· Weed after rainfall when resistance is less.

· Get a gardening buddy to share the work.

· Widen tool handles to make them easier to grasp.

· Have only one knee on the ground at a time, keeping back straight.

· Use raised beds when possible.

· Maintain good posture at all times.

Provided by the Maryland Cooperative Extension Service, Washington County office.

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