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This page highlights safety tips to maximize your enjoyment of gardening for years to come.

Contributed by Emily Greer, Kinesiologist & Recreation Therapist 

stretchingIt is important to warm up and stretch your muscles before gardening to prevent injury, and after gardening to prevent stiffness.

Follow these simple guidelines to keep your body healthy and your garden fruitful.  Also remember to protect yourself from the sun and keep yourself well hydrated while working in the garden. Enjoy!

Start your warm-up by going for a brisk 5-10 minute walk around the garden. This will get the blood flowing and allow you to survey what you will work on today.


Hold each stretch for 10-15 seconds.  Do not jerk or bounce the stretch.  Repeat each stretch 2-3 times.  Listen to your body: if you feel any pain of discomfort ease off a little until you can hold the stretch comfortably.


  • Tilt head forward bringing chin toward chest.  Gently tilt head back looking up to the sky.
  • Facing forward, tip ear toward shoulder. Repeat on other side.


  • Grasp your elbow with opposite hand. Pull elbow and arm across chest until you feel a gentle stretch at back of arm.  Repeat on other side.
  • Clasp hands behind head. Press elbows back until you feel a gentle stretch at front of shoulders


  • Holding your arm straight out in front, point hand downward toward floor. With other hand, gently pull fingers toward you until you feel a stretch. Repeat on other side.
  • Hold hands in front of chest, palms together, fingers pointing upward. Bend wrists until you feel a stretch.


  • While standing, place hands firmly on hips. Bend backwards until you feel a stretch.
  • Clasp hands together over head. Lean to one side, keeping back straight, until you feel a stretch in your side. Repeat on other side.


  • Using a wall for support, grasp ankle behind you. Push leg back to stretch front of thigh, keeping thigh in line with body. Repeat on other side.
  • Keeping a straight back, bend at the knees.  Extend one leg out in front, planting the heel into the ground.  With hands on hips, bend at the waist until you feel a stretch down the back of extended leg.  Repeat on other side.
  • wheel barrowPace yourself. Do the hard stuff first, before you’re tired out and more likely to overexert.

  • Don’t hunch. If you squat when you weed, keep your back as straight as possible and move along as you weed, don’t reach too far.

  • When lifting, always bend from the knees, not the waist, and try to keep your back straight. Use your thigh muscles to do the lifting. Move your feet closer to the object you are lifting and take a wide stance, to balance yourself. Keep the object close to you as you lift it.

  • Don’t lift and twist in the same movement.

  • Kneel on both knees at the same time to avoid the temptation to twist or strain. Use a knee pad.

  • Wear gloves and use tools with comfortable handles. Wrap the grip with an old piece of hose or coat with rubber paint, for gripping comfort. Remember to change hands from time to time.

  • When using long handled tools, stand straight and keep your knees relaxed. If you need to twist or pivot, step into the twist to ease tension on the back.

  • Get out that wheelbarrow or wagon and use it.


Health Canada offers a variety of safety related information available here.