Spring is a time to get outdoors and enjoy the beautiful weather and blooming flowers but for many who suffer from arthritis, it makes it difficult to enjoy gardening. The bending, stretching and lifting that gardening entails seems all too painful for those living with arthritis. There are ways that gardening can be an excellent form of exercise to help strength and mobility without putting stress on your joints. The Arthritis Society offers the following tips for smart gardening:

• Always be sure to stretch and warm up before working in the garden. This will help reduce stiffness and decrease your risk of injury.

• Use raised flower beds that allow you to stand or sit comfortably while you work

• Search for garden products that have been designed to be used by people with arthritis. Tools bearing an “arthritis friendly” logo have received a passing grade by an independent third-party research organization.

• Use tools that have long handles to avoid bending or stooping. Handles should be as long as your own height.

• Pad handles of your hand tools with foam to enlarge the grip.

• Wear a carpenter’s apron with large pockets for carrying frequently used tools.

• Make sure your tools are sharp and well oiled. It will make them easier to use.

• Switch tasks often and take lots of breaks.

• Plan reset areas in your garden, benches, chairs or using a rolling stool that you can move easily.

• If kneeling, use kneepads or a foam kneeling pad.

Happy Gardening!