Safe Gardening

Toronto has been having beautiful weather this week! For many that means spending time outdoors gardening and doing yard work. It’s common during this time of year to see people seeking treatment for strains and repetitive injuries sustained while doing work in their garden. Here are a few tips to help you stay injury free this season!


Injuries at the shoulders can happen when the same action is repeated over a period of time (such a shoveling).  The fact that most people are typically more sedentary during the winter usually means that more force is needed, combined with high repetitions means there is a higher risk for injury. Follow these quick tips to keep your shoulders more safe:

  • Take frequent breaks.
  • If you need to lift heavy items, practice good lifting form: bend at your knees and not your back, bring the item close to your body, and then stand up. Use a wheelbarrow if heavy items need to be transported long distances.
  • Stretch first! Here are some simple shoulder stretches to try.


Practicing good posture while gardening can help you avoid most injuries.  Avoid bending forward at the hips with a rounded back to help protect your spine!  Here are a few tips to keep your back happy:

  • Use long handed tools to help avoid too much bending over.
  • Sit on a short stool if possible.
  • Use knee pads! This encourages you to maintain good posture.
  • Avoid twisting movements while digging.
  • Check in with yourself often, stretching before, during and after gardening.

Take breaks, be mindful and take your time to help you stay injury free during the spring and summer!



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