The Right Equipment
While you may want to use a manual mower and rake to get the best workout, consider using tools designed to put less strain on your body. Raised beds and portable stools mean less bending and stooping. If you must kneel, use foam pads to cushion knees. Long-handled tools with good grip surfaces will also help. Try products ergonomically designed to make gardening easier, such as those produced by Fiskars, Ames, and Achievable Concepts.
If you do strain yourself, the American Chiropractic Association suggests applying a cold pack during the first 48 hours or a heat pack after 48 hours. Sunbeam's Health at Home hot/cold flexible back wrap inflates so it stays in place. Also try rubs and bath soaks; Porter's Gardener's Quick Relief Muscle Rub combines castor bean and soybean oils with Arnica montana and eucalyptus leaf oil. Kathy's Family "Call It a Day" lavender and clary sage soak relieves aches and reduces inflammation.
At the end of the day, don't forget the real reason you garden, whatever that may be. Exercise is simply a wonderful side benefit of the activity you already love.
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