Ergonomic tools help the senior gardener keep producing … – Bucks County Courier Times

As we get older gardening for aging adults can become more challenging. As Americans age they don’t want to give up their daily activities, especially gardening. Studies show there are many long term benefits, physically and mentally as a result of doing daily activities in the yard.

Gardening is an easy and enjoyable way for the elderly to enjoy their leisure time. It promotes a more active way of life where seniors can increase and maintain their flexibility and mobility. It not only helps to improve endurance and strength but it also helps reduce stress and promote a more relaxed lifestyle.

With so many product ideas available to help seniors in the garden they don’t have to give up their beloved past time.

Tools are an important part of gardening but may not be easy to handle if you have arthritis or joint pain. Ergonomic tools are designed to reduce stress on joints and increase productivity. Digging tools like hand trowels and cultivators with curved and angular handles help reduce wrist pain. Long handled hoe and shovel help to minimize the risk of injury to your back. Pruning shears, like ratchet pruners, have a rotating handle making it easier on the joints when squeezing tough branches. Also telescoping-handled pruning shears are for hard to reach branches making it easier on the joints, especially if you have chronic shoulder pain. Brands Like Fishers, Radius and Corona all have ergonomic lines featuring tools designed with the senior gardener in mind.

Raised bed and containers are perfect for seniors that have downsized their living space. Ideal for small space gardening, raised beds are elevated gardens built to limit bending and kneeling. Many freestanding beds are table height and wheelchair accessible, available at your local garden center. Wooden rectangular boxes are freestanding, usually 7 to 8 feet long by 3.5 to 4 feet wide. The width is important because you want to make sure you can reach front to back with the length of your arm. This will reduce stress on shoulder joints keeping movement to a minimum. Easy to use raised containers are perfect for growing everything from vegetables, herbs and flowers. Vertical gardening is another great way to garden without bending or kneeling. Wood vertical planters usually 3.5 to 4 feet tall and wide allow you to grow a variety of herbs on the deck or patio.

If you refuse to give up your garden beds around your home but need improved mobility there are helpful tools available get around the garden easier.

Garden kneelers that convert into stools and garden seats with wheels that double as a tool caddy allow you to move around garden beds with ease. Garden gloves are also an important accessory. Synthetic rubber coated gloves give you flexible movement and provide padding around the fingers to protect against blisters.

With so many easy to use tools and accessories keeping your hands in the soil will be easy for years to come.

Other recommendations to enjoy the garden

Alternate tasks. Repetitive-strain injuries can affect gardeners who spend long periods of time performing the same activity in their gardens. By alternating tasks during gardening sessions, gardeners can reduce their risk of suffering repetitive strain injuries. Alternate tasks not just on muscle groups worked, but also level of difficulty. Remember to include some simple jobs even on busy gardening days so the body gets a break.

Take frequent breaks. Frequent breaks can help combat the stiffness and muscle aches that may not appear until gardeners finish their gardening sessions. Breaks help to alleviate muscles or joints that can become overtaxed when gardening for long, uninterrupted periods of time. When leaning down or working on your hands and knees, stand up to take breaks every 20 minutes or the moment aches and pains start to make their presence felt.

Maintain good posture. Back injuries have a tendency to linger, which can keep gardeners indoors and out of their gardens. When gardening, maintain good posture to prevent back injuries. Gardening back braces can protect the back by providing support and making it easier for gardeners to maintain their posture. Tool pouches attached to gardening stools or chairs also can be less taxing on the back than gardening belts tied around the waist.

Gardening might not be a contact sport, but it can cause pain if gardeners do not take steps to prevent the onset of muscle aches and strains when spending time in their gardens. 

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