While gardening isn’t necessarily the most dangerous pastime one can think of, injuries do occur. Recent data suggests that in the US alone, over 300,000 gardening injuries occur annually. So whether you are a seasoned gardener or are just beginning, it’s important to be aware of the hazards present in our yards.

There are a number of common injuries gardeners are susceptible to. Luckily, there are also many ways to safeguard yourself against these injuries so you can enjoy gardening in health and longevity. Let’s take a look at three different gardening injuries and what you can do to prevent them.

Back And Muscle Pains

The repetitive motions involved in digging, raking, and weeding (and on your knees no less) can easily lead to muscle spasms and back pain for any gardener – young or old. Not only that but pruning, picking and digging, can require putting yourself into some awkward positions and that means risking back injuries as well.


How Can You Prevent Back And Muscle Pains?

Warm up before getting into the heavy stuff. Take a quick stroll around your garden to get your blood pumping and then do some simple stretches to prep your muscles for work. Add cushioning where possible: garden kneelers are readily available and are a good investment.

Use help: Getting yourself a garden cart or hand trolley will help you move pots and other heavy items around. Using your wheelbarrow as often as appropriate (even as something to put your tools in) can reduce the amount of time bending and carrying a load.

Additionally, experts agree that it is vital to take time to rest! Give yourself a break every hour. You can set a timer on your phone to remind yourself to stop for water, shade, and a stretch. Your body will thank you later.


Injuries And Wounds From Garden Equipment

According to the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, (which collects data around US emergency room visits) one of the most common injuries in the garden is a wound caused by the sharp edges and pointy tips of garden tools. Additionally devoted gardeners are often plagued by blisters, callouses, and muscle pains in their hands.


How Can You Prevent Injuries From Garden Equipment?

It is important to make sure you keep up with your garden equipment – don’t let items get rusty and dirty. And always be mindful that your gardening tools fit your hand size. This will help you avoid damage to the skin and muscle of your hands.

Lacerations are also among some of the most common gardening injuries. For this reason, be sure to wear gloves when working in soil. This is very important because if you have open wounds on your hands, organisms from the soil can get it in and cause infection.

Or worse, you may come upon an old rusty piece of metal and the risk of tetanus is quite high in this case. Work gloves can safeguard you against a whole host of these common injuries.


Harm To Skin

There are two ways gardeners become susceptible to damaging their skin while gardening. First off, the risks associated with sun exposure are significant for avid gardeners. We all know the dangers of getting too much sun. According to WebMD, exposure to sun causes pre-cancerous and cancerous cells, fine lines and wrinkles, freckles and benign tumors just to name a few!


How Can You Prevent Excess Sun?

In addition to avoiding the hottest parts of the day, be sure to cover up with long sleeves, pants and a hat. Another method to avoid sun exposure is to plan your gardening for a time during the day when your garden is shaded from the sun.

This way you can enjoy your time out in your garden and you skin doesn’t have to suffer. Regardless of if you’re gardening in the shade or direct sunlight, don’t forget to apply sunscreen every one to two hours.


Other Skin Related Injuries

According to the CDC, biting and stinging insects are another serious threat to gardeners’ skin health. Mosquitoes, ants and scorpions are the first to come to mind but there are many insects that can turn a beautiful day sour very quickly. Be sure to wear gloves, long sleeves, and apply insect repellent in order to avoid and protect from getting bitten or stung.

Gardening is a serene way to connect with the earth and disconnect from the noise of our culture. However, gardening injuries are a real threat and can certainly be a significant setback. By following this advice the safer, healthier and happier you and your garden will be.

Author Bio: Hi, I’m Zac When my wife told me I needed a better shed it started an obsession with everything in my yard. From building a shed to keeping chickens you can read about how you can do it yourself at ZacsGarden.com

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