Gardening and Ergonomics – How to Protect Your Back
Those who wielded tools during summer holidays in the countryside know exactly what we are talking about: bending kneeling, digging, lifting, pulling and other actions that will immediately show effects – back, wrists and muscle pains. The physical efforts is one of the main drawbacks of gardening, especially when old, but specialists have over time developed ergonomic tools to reduce the impact on the human body and improve work. Here are a few practical tips from them concerning gardening and ergonomics to shield us from back pains.
First, an ergonomic tool is one that allows you to keep wrists and other body parts in a neutral position. They are light and made to eliminate any discomfort you might have and boost your productivity thanks to the design that creates more flexibility for you and allows you to work longer and smarter. Experts say one can tell when a tools is ergonomic when you don’t have to adapt it to do your job.
In general, buy tools that fit your hand and this is why it is recommended you try them before buying. Hand tools with looped handles, swivel grips, and ratcheting gears are easier to squeeze and take less effort to use. Ergonomic hand tools are designed with handles that keep your wrist straight. This reduces stress on your wrist. Testing has shown that people lose up to 25% of their grip strength when their wrist is bent. At the same time, look for non-slip handles.
Always use tools with long handles because this cuts down on bending, reducing the risk of back injuries. Choose the tool with the lightest weight possible but that is sturdy enough to get the job done. Do not forget to wear gloves during gardening activities to avoid blisters and get a better grip and thus put less pressure on wrists.
Keep your back straight when working and bend the knees rather than the back. When weeding, for instance, kneel with one knee because this position allows you to keep the back straight. Also, if you sit or kneel on a knee, it is recommended you bend forward from your hips to keep your back from rounding.
Sources: Consumeraffairs.com, Greenthumbs.cedwvu.org