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Death by Monkey Grass

Death by Monkey Grass

I was visited by a client last week who had numbness in her arm and hand. On closer investigation, it turns out she has been manicuring her Liriope by hand. Repeated pulling and holding with the left hand, clipping with the right and then pitching the clippings in the basket behind her and to the left. ... for hours at a time.

The body position alone is enough to get you in trouble. On your knees and hunched over; the neck and head are forced forward. The arms are out in front of you with nothing to support their weight.

And then there's the repetitive motion. The trifecta of garden injuries. A perfect storm! At the very least you should choose an ergonomic hand clipper like Fiskars Swivel Soft Touch Grass Shear which has a soft handle and a cutting head that rotates 360º for easy trimming at any angle.

The surprising thing is that we know we shouldn't (couldn't) do continuous push ups for a couple of hours. What on earth makes us think the muscles in our hands/forearms can do such continuous work for hours on end??? Be smart Gardeners!

I know we want to get out there on the first beautiful day like today and get the entire south forty in tip top shape. But please work smarter. Take frequent breaks. Switch up your tasks. Yes this is counterintuitive in the organizational scheme of 'finish each task you begin before going on to the next'. But I'll invite you to form a new paradigm.

Instead of setting the goal to trim all the monkey grass along the walk, set your goal to trim x number of feet of it. Or do a few minutes of hand trimming, clean up the area and go do some mowing or raking or mulching and then come back to it (If you still have energy). Set your sites on a few feet of hand clipping at a setting.
Begin to think of your gardening tasks like you would your gym workout: do  1-3 sets of a  number of repetitions. Then go work another body part. Your hands, arms and shoulders will thank you!! 

For more gardening specific information be sure to visit Pain-Free-Gardening.blogspot.com and check the archives.
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