10 Tips for Senior Gardening Safety

Gardening is great exercise. After all, one hour of gardening can burn 250 calories. Gardening can increase bone mass, lower your risk of a stroke and lift your spirits, not to mention that it can supply you with nutritious, home grown food. But working outside in the fresh air is not without its hazards, particularly if you’re outside working alone. Keep these tips in mind to stay safe while you’re working in your garden.

Tip #1 : Scan your yard for possible tripping hazards

Sometimes it helps to have a pair of fresh eyes to recognize tripping hazards. Ask a family member or friend to walk with you around your yard. Keep your eyes out for bulky tree roots, bumps in the ground and rocks that jut out. Someone who isn’t as familiar with the lay of the land as you are will notice these things more readily. If you find a root that’s a trip hazard, do something about it. And during gardening, be aware of new trip hazards like garden hoses and carelessly placed tools.

 

Tip #2 : Always carry a cell phone with you when you’re working outside.

If you have a medical alert pendant, be sure to wear it whenever you’re working in your garden. You may never need to use it, but if you do, it can get help quickly if you fall or otherwise need help.

 

Tip #3 : If you have to navigate uneven ground, give yourself some extra support by using a walking stick or a cane.

Not only will this additional support help you with your balance, if you do happen to fall, the cane or stick could also help you get back up.

 

Tip #4 : Seniors are wise to avoid ladders as much as possible.

And of course, don’t climb up on unsteady items like overturned 5-gallon buckets. You’re much better off safe than sorry, especially when you’re outdoors where the ground is rarely even. Wait to do any reaching when you’ve got someone to assist you. Better yet, let someone younger do it for you.

 

Tip #5 : Investing in a raised garden bed or two can make gardening much easier on your knees and joints

Many raised beds have a flat board where you can sit while you work. A long and narrow bed will be easier to work with than one that’s deep and square. If you enjoy container gardening, buy another patio table and place the pots on top of it for easy, no-stoop access.

 

Tip #6 : Know your limits in the heat.

People of all ages need to be careful if they’re working outside during hot weather. Those who are age 65 and older need to take special care. Take frequent breaks, and rest in shady spots so that your body’s internal thermometer will have a chance to get back to normal.

Anytime you experience breathlessness or muscle soreness, stop working.

Drink plenty of fluids, but stay away from alcohol and even very sugary drinks when you’re working outside in the heat.

 

Tip #7 : Watch out for the signs of a heart trouble such as a very high body temperature, dizziness or confusion.

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, get help right away.

 

Tip #8 : Use select tools

If you have arthritis, there are tools available that are easy to grasp. Don’t give up on your gardening. According to research, 2 1/2 hours of moderate physical activity each week will not only give you more energy but can ease your arthritis symptoms.

 

Tip #9 : Protect yourself from the sun

Wear long sleeves, wide-brim hats, and sunscreen with a sun protective factor (SPF) of at least 15.

 

Tip #10 : Make sure to switch up your activities when you garden so you’re not doing repetitive tasks for an extended time.

Doing the same movements over and over can lead to straining your back or knees. Stand up and stretch often.

 

Final Say

Gardening is a great way to get outside and even improve your diet by growing your own fruit and vegetables. Be aware of the hazards and you can reap the rewards of a green thumb for many years to come.

 

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