Safe and healthy gardening

By Vic Weatherall, DC
Updated August 2022

Rob Caron, co-owner of Rideau Woodland Ramble in Burritt’s Rapids, Ontario,  finds the most common physical common challenges of maintaining their gardens and grounds are “bending, squatting, lifting, pushing, pulling, and trimming.” In his experience, “All the muscle groups get a work out!”

Rob and his team of professionals follow several key practices to enjoy a safe and healthy gardening season:

  • Perform garden maintenance only during the cooler part of the day. Follow the shade. If the temperature exceeds 30°C, stop.
  • Plan the work the day before to determine the physical challenges, such as how much bending, lifting, and time will be required, and what tools will be needed.
  • Use tools that are in good working order such as a sturdy rake, a sturdy wheelbarrow with a fully inflated tire, and sharp cutters.
  • Wear gloves because many plants are poisonous and can cause severe allergic reactions or dermatitis. Gloves also protect the gardener from insect bites, splinters, and infections. Knee pads are also beneficial.
  • Wear proper work shoes for good balance and to protect feet from injury when using tools.
  • Perform some warm-up exercises such as squats and light lifting.
  • Switch jobs frequently, for example, do some weeding for a while, then some lifting, raking, and then trimming.
  • Take breaks and stay hydrated.
  • Most importantly, wear a hat!

For other healthy gardening advice, see the Ontario Chiropractic Association’s Get Set to Garden and Protect Yourself from Injury.

Many parts of Eastern Ontario are experiencing greatly increased exposure to ticks, including those related to Lyme disease. Make sure you are well protected to prevent bites to yourself and your pets. See Lyme disease and ticks.

To schedule an appointment, contact Dr. Vic Weatherall.

Photo courtesy and property of Rideau Woodland Ramble.