Boston University Professor Offers Tips for Healthy Gardening and Other Activities

Do you find yourself hesitating to perform favorite springtime activities because of the pain and discomfort associated with bending and kneeling? A Boston University (BU) occupational therapy professor has a solution to this problem, which affects thousands of people each year.

Spring is the optimal time of year to practice healthy occupational therapy habits according to Karen Jacobs, a clinical professor of Occupational Therapy at Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences and the past president and vice president of American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA). For those wishing for an active spring, Jacobs offers advice to prevent injury and enjoy popular springtime activities such as gardening, walking, and spring-cleaning in the home.

“Many people believe they can’t perform their favorite activities, such as gardening because of pain or fatigue,” says Jacobs. “This doesn’t have to be the case if you simply limit your gardening time to an hour, use tools to weed while standing, and work with a partner on your garden.”

For example, Jacobs offers the following tips for comfortable gardening:

•Taking short breaks every hour

•Growing more beans and potatoes: Planting beans with a trellis eliminates bending and growing potatoes requires less weeding

•Using planter boxes to minimize the need to bend

•Planting more perennials

•Keeping cool by drinking plenty of water.

“Occupational therapists are available to help people prevent injury and pain associated with springtime activities,” says Jacobs. “These tips are not specific for gardening as they can be used for a variety of activities.”

Occupational therapy works to maximize a person’s ability to participate in valued life activities in all stages of life. The month of April has been designated as National Occupational Therapy Month by AOTA and by the occupational therapy program at Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences.

Boston University’s Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences is an institution of higher education and research whose premier academic programs prepare dynamic health care professionals and whose research and leadership in the health and rehabilitation sciences is actively shaping health care. For more information about Sargent College and to learn about their degree programs in physical therapy, occupational therapy, communication disorders, health sciences, athletic training, nutrition and rehabilitation counseling, visit http://www.bu.edu/sargent.

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