April is National Garden Month, and gardening is a great way for older adults to get exercise. If you’re heading out to the yard to get your hands dirty this spring, here are some tips from New Hampshire Home Care Assistance to make it easier on your body and prevent injury.
1. Start Slowly
If you’re not very active, you might be surprised at how physical gardening can be. Prepare your body by gently stretching your arms, back, and torso. Once you’re outside, be sure to switch positions every 20 minutes, resting for 10 minutes in between.
2. Get the Right Tools
The heavy tools you’ve had forever may not do the trick as you age. Instead, opt for lightweight versions with rubber handles that are easy to grip. You can also find gardening tools that are ergonomically designed to protect your body from strain. And keep your tools sharp, so they can be used effectively with less effort.
3. Think Access
If bending is difficult for you, plan a garden that is easy to tend without stooping low to the ground. Great options include trellises and other vertical planters or raised planting beds that have a built in bench so you have a comfortable place to sit as you work.
4. Keep Your Cool
To avoid dehydration and sunburn, garden in the morning, when the sun is at its coolest. Or if you aren’t an early riser, evening gardening can work as well. When you do head out midday, limit your time in the sun and wear sunscreen of at least SPF 30 along with a wide brimmed hat. Drink plenty of water to remain hydrated.
5. Clear Your Yard of Hazards
Have a family member or trusted friends help you remove branches, rocks, and other items that could cause you to trip. And just in case, carry your cell phone while you’re gardening in case of an injury.
Like other activities, gardening can become more challenging with age. If you or your elderly loved one could use a helping hand, reach out to Home Care Assistance of New Hampshire. Our friendly in-home caregivers can help with a variety of tasks, from cooking to mobility support. To learn more, schedule a free consultation by calling (603) 471-3004 and speaking with a friendly Care Manager today.