“The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul”. – Alfred Austin
In a world where a lot of people are becoming technologically obsessed, it’s easy to become nature-deprived. We spend less and less time outdoors and this jeopardizes our health and well-being. One way to beat that is to start gardening. Gardening can be a pain-free hobby, for people living with arthritis all you need is slight planning and creativity. A few shortcuts and modifications can make gardening possible for anyone. The key for people with arthritis is to keep your garden within easy reach. Gardening is a really good form of exercise, but doing some actions over and over can lead to Swelling and pain if you have arthritis, and you may need to rest completely until the flare-up passes. The good news is that gardening can actually be beneficial for those with arthritis. Getting out in the garden is a wonderful way to stay active and get some exercise. If you love to work in the garden then you do not have to give up that passion, you just have to modify your techniques and be smart in how you approach it.
“If you have osteoarthritis, regular physical activity can reduce pain and stiffness. So gardening is a great way to stay active and keep your joints healthy.” – Benjamin Ellis
A few wise decisions about how you design your garden can make a huge difference. Understanding your strengths and your limitations will allow you to create a garden that works for you. Arthritis can affect your back and make working at a ground level difficult. Growing in containers can be a great solution because they require less bending and also less weeding.
Steps to practice gardening with arthritis:
Step 1: Assess your needs
- Know which joint hurts and plan out actions accordingly.
- Know the size of the garden and limit it to a small scale.
Step 2: Be selective
- Select particular plants that are manageable to take care i.e which require low maintenance and effortless plantation methods.
- Select particular gardening tools and activities to be done per done and do not overdo as it may stress the joints.
Step 3: Decrease your workload
- Keeping in mind your arthritis pain, limit bending, and stooping.
- Do not carry a heavy load and always be open to asking for help.
Step 4: Nurture your joints
- Use knee pads if your garden activity involves kneeling.
- Wear padded gloves to ease pain and improve grip.
Step 5: Respect your pain
- Know what your pain is telling you and try avoiding that activity.
- Pain often tells you your positioning isn’t correct, you are trying to lift something too heavy, or you have been doing a task for too long.
Step 6: Warm-up
- Doing warm-up exercises before gardening benefits your joints by increasing blood flow, reducing stiffness, and decreasing the risk of injury.
- Just walking around your yard once or twice before, during, and after gardening will get your blood flowing. You can also stretch when you have been in one position too long
Step 7: Select a timeframe
- Take frequent rests, and plan on taking a break well before you are likely to get tired or sore. It is recommended to take a 10minute break each hour.
- Use a timer to remind you to take a break it’s so easy to lose track of time in the garden. People with arthritis shouldn’t overdo it pace yourself!
Step 8: Change your routine
- Switch tasks frequently rather than remain in one position for a prolonged period.
- Spread out your gardening chores throughout the week instead of attempting to get them all done on a weekend.
Tips to keep in mind while gardening:
Gardening is such a fun and rewarding activity that is proven to be incredible for both our physical and mental health. It really can do good for those with arthritis, keeping you strong and flexible. Gardening has an abundance of health benefits including keeping you physically active and helping to lower anxiety and depression, both of which are linked to arthritis. Using the below tips and tools you can ease any gardening task.
1.Spread the load :
Try to spread the weight of items when you carry them by resting them on your forearms and hands, rather than trying to pick them up with your fingers only. Try resting a tray of seedlings on your forearms, for example. Keep your elbows tucked in to reduce the strain on your shoulders and elbows.
2.Use a garden stool:
Gloves – Gloves are a vital part of any gardener’s toolkit because our hands are often at risk. For those with arthritis, the extra grip means you can alleviate your hand and lower the pressure. For those who are a little older, they are especially important, because the skin thins as it ages, making it easier to damage, and this may lead to infections.
Kneeling Pad – Knees are a common focal point for arthritis. When you do have to work from the ground, save your knees with a good kneeling pad. Also, shift knees and spread the weight and reduce the strain on your joints. Kneeling pads protect your knees from further pain and also aids in easing the gardening activity.
Electric Gadgets – Electric shears and hedge trimmers can save you lots of time and pain. Do be aware though, that although some vibration can actually be soothing, prolonged use of vibrating tools could have a negative effect. If you do use them, take breaks and split up the work, as you should with any job.
Handles – Your hands are a primary pressure point when gardening, and the base of a lot of arthritis pain. Choosing some specialist handles can keep your gardening longer and more comfortably. There are many ergonomic tools that have extra-large handles, soft foam grips, extra length to avoid bending, or you can even find handles and wrist supports that attach to your existing tools.
Splints – If you’re struggling with your hands, add a little support with a wrist or thumb splint. A splint can help you work a lot longer on a task by reducing the strain on particular joints.
3. Plan ahead to avoid unnecessary effort:
If walking is difficult, avoid too many trips up and down the garden by taking all the things. This will cause less strain on your knees, hands, wrists, elbows, and shoulders. Avoid heavy lifting, seek help with heavier jobs.
Therapeutic Benefits of Gardening for Arthritis:
“Gardening adds years to your life and life to your years” – Anonymous
Gardening is a great activity for maintaining one’s range of motion, bone density and strength, joint flexibility, and overall quality of life.
It has also been shown to relieve stress, anxiety, and depression.
Going outdoors to soak up the sunshine and feel the fresh air can help your mood, giving you a chance to relax.
Many people with arthritis pain or limitations may think they have to give up this pastime because they’re not aware of the therapeutic benefits of gardening for arthritis.
With the right tools, and an open mind, you should be able to garden actively while reaping the benefits gardening provides.
Planting flowers and vegetables can reap bountiful health benefits and can do wonders for your well-being.
Here are some other health benefits of gardening for arthritis:
- Gardening can build self-esteem.
- Gardening is good for your heart.
- Gardening reduces stress.
- Gardening can boost up your immunity.
- Gardening can improve your hand strength.
- Gardening is good for the whole family.
- Gardening can give you a boost of vitamin D.
- Growing your own food can help you eat healthier.
Gardening doesn’t have to be a problem if you have arthritis, and it can play an important part in keeping up your physical activity.
Having a garden doesn’t have to be hard work. Following the tips, like using different tools or growing different plants, may make it easier for you. Many people enjoy having a low-maintenance or natural garden.
Having arthritis (especially shoulder arthritis) may make some things difficult, but it doesn’t have to stop you from doing the things you enjoy. Changing the way you do certain things can help you keep up your daily activities and hobbies.
The methods you choose will depend on how arthritis affects you. With the right adaptations and mindset, gardening can be a relaxing and rewarding hobby.
If you enjoy digging in the dirt too then simply follow the above methods and tips to overcome the frustrations and limitations imposed by arthritis and recapture the joy of gardening!