When spring finally arrives each year, people get excited to take care of a garden again. It’s the perfect opportunity to enjoy the warm sunshine and raise your favourite plants, but it can also present a few dangers. You might think gardening is a safe activity because it takes place in your yard or on your land. It’s easy to assume, but there are still a few ways people can get hurt while tending their flowers and vegetables. Your safety should always be your top priority, so take extra measures to protect yourself while you’re outside.
Read on to learn a few easy tips for staying healthy while gardening to enjoy your favourite hobby this spring. Once you know which dangers are most prevalent in your yard, you can stay safe by thinking ahead.
1. Watch Your Posture
Although you don’t feel as exhausted after gardening as you would after running a 5k or lifting weights, it’s still a physical activity. Your body might feel sore after weeding or planting seeds because you’ve kept a rigid posture.
If you’re gardening with a bent back or knees and staying in that position, your muscles could be too tight to keep you in that position comfortably. Remember to watch your posture as you garden by straightening your back occasionally and circling your shoulders, along with standing up straight as needed.
2. Replace Rusty Tools
You might have kept your gardening tools in your garage or a shed over the winter, so double-check them before you start gardening again. You could find rusty handles or sharp edges, which increases the risk of cutting yourself and getting infected. Replace any rusty tools with new ones so you don’t need to rush to the doctor for a tetanus shot.
3. Lift With Bent Knees
Another way to injure your back is to lift heavy objects in the wrong position. Before you lift a heavy toolbox or other gardening equipment, avoid long-term lifting effects by bending your knees and keeping your back straight. Doing those two things while lifting an object will keep the weight close to your body and minimize the strain on your muscles.
4. Wear Extra Sunscreen
Growing a garden means you’ll be outside more than usual. You may don a straw hat or baseball cap to protect your face from the sun, but the rest of your body remains exposed. Wearing extra sunscreen on any exposed skin reduces your risk of skin cancer, wrinkling, dark spots and leathery skin. You’ll enjoy a better quality of life for many more years by taking a few minutes to spray or rub on sunscreen before you head outside.
5. Spray For Pests
You might feel like bugs aren’t an issue where you live, but they can spread disease anywhere. This spring, consider spraying for pests like mosquitoes and ticks. Even if you only spot a couple this year, they can carry many different diseases like malaria and the Zika virus, which are harmful to people of all ages.
Get ahead of the bugs and find a professional to spray your yard for pests. When your yard is in the hands of a professional, you don’t have to worry about insect-related diseases.
6. Monitor Yourself For Dehydration
Sweating in your garden decreases your natural hydration levels, which can cause harmful side effects that include symptoms like dizziness, headaches and fainting. Check-in with yourself every so often to double-check that you feel strong and capable of gardening.
If you start to feel weak, sit down inside or in the shade with a cold glass of water and drink it in slow, measured sips. You should feel energized and refreshed after a few minutes or ready to quit gardening for the day to protect your health.
7. Invest In Gloves
People who live in regions where temperatures can soar into triple digits don’t want to sweat inside heavy gardening gloves while they’re outside, but it’s another way to protect yourself. When you wear gloves, you won’t cut your hands on equipment or expose broken skin to chemical-based garden treatments.
It’s also another way to prevent sunburns because the gloves cover your skin. Find a pair in a style or pattern you like and remember to wear them if you do anything more than water your plants.
8. Think About Ear Protection
Some gardening tools are bigger and make loud noises. This can irritate people with sensitive eardrums and potentially lead to long-term damage. When you need to use big tools like a weed whacker or trimmer, think about wearing ear protection. Earplugs or muffs will limit the frequency that affects your ears and keep them from ringing long after you’ve gone back inside.
Take Extra Steps
Even if you’ve never done any of these things to stay healthy while gardening, it’s time to take extra steps to help yourself. Let professionals spray your yard for pests, wear sunscreen and hydrate frequently so you can enjoy your gardening well into the hot summer months.