Did you know gardening might just be the ultimate activity to help boost your overall wellbeing? It counts as a moderate-level exercise; helps decrease cortisol (our stress hormone); provides a convenient and sustainable source of fresh produce; inspires creativity; and can help prevent and treat dementia. Whether you’re drawn to flowers or vegetables, June is an ideal time to get digging in the dirt. And since June is also National Safety Month, here are some gardening safety tips from the Centers for Disease Control:
- Before you get dirty, be sure to stretch. It will get your body prepared for the work ahead.
- Make sure your tetanus & diphtheria vaccines are up to date. You never know what you will find in the dirt.
- Follow instructions on all gardening tools and chemicals, including ensuring they are out of reach of children and pets.
- Operating a power tool? Wear proper clothing — including gloves, goggles, ear protection, sturdy, closed-toe shoes, and long pants.
- Wear light-colored long sleeves and long pants tucked into socks, and use insect repellant, (those with DEET are very effective and found to be safe if used as directed), to protect yourself from ticks and other insects.
- Use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15, along with a wide-brimmed hat.
- Drink extra fluids in the heat; water is best. Avoid those with alcohol and excess sugar.
- Eat healthy foods to keep up your energy, like fruits or a protein shake.
- Monitor your heart rate and level of fatigue. Take breaks in the shade if you feel breathless, tired, or sore.
- Don’t forget to stretch after you are done, your body will thank you as you doze off to a good night’s sleep.
For more gardening safety tips, visit the www.cdc.gov/family/gardening/.
Benefits aside, a wonderful day of gardening may result in an aching or tight back. If you find yourself stiff or hurting after yard work, consider a massage, yoga class or a visit to a chiropractor. Check out SimplaFYI’s vetted Practitioners, most offering preferred pricing to SimplaFYI Members.
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Written by: Carol Swanson, a health & wellbeing writer
You can reach Carol at: firstname.lastname@example.org