Top tips on gardening with Rheumatoid Arthritis

Blog by Aribah Rizvi

Gardening is a great hobby that allows you to connect with nature, create beautiful landscapes, keeps you physically active. However, for those living with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), inflammation and joint pain can make gardening a challenging task. Fortunately, with the right approach and some helpful tips, it is possible to enjoy gardening while managing your symptoms effectively. Here are our top tips. 

1. Adapt Your Garden

A key aspect to consider when gardening with RA is creating an environment that minimises strain on your joints. Vertical gardening structures, such as trellises or hanging baskets, can also reduce joint strain by bringing plants closer to eye level. Also, opt for raised garden beds or containers at an accessible height, as this eliminates excessive bending or kneeling.  

2. Use ergonomic tools

Incorporating adaptive tools and techniques into your gardening routine can significantly reduce the stress on your joints. Long-handled tools, such as gardening forks and trowels, allow you to perform tasks without excessive bending or reaching. 

Invest in kneepads or a gardening stool to provide cushioning and support while working close to the ground.  

Consider using a lightweight hose to avoid carrying heavy watering cans. 

3. Practice Joint-Friendly Gardening Techniques

Adopting joint-friendly gardening techniques can help minimise discomfort and protect your joints. Warm up your joints with gentle stretching exercises before you begin gardening.   

Use proper body mechanics by engaging your core and lifting from your legs instead of your back when lifting heavy objects. Avoid prolonged repetitive motions by switching tasks frequently and try to maintain good posture while working. 

For more information on exercising with RA, check out our new SMILE-RA module- Importance of Physical Activity and Exercise.  

We hope these adjustments will make your gardening experience more enjoyable. Share your top tips with our NRAS community on FacebookTwitter or Instagram.