Living with COPD
Gardening and COPD
If you're living with COPD, gardening is a relaxing way to remain active.
Tools of the Trade
In the past, you may have easily
moved in and around your garden; produced immaculately manicured lawns with
a walking-mower, pushed heavy wheelbarrows filled with dirt and lugged around
heavy hoes, shovels and hoses.
Now, with COPD you may need to consider your many gardening tools:
- Use lightweight tools that require less energy: trade in your traditional
hoe and rake for smaller versions with extra-long or extendable handles.
- When you mow your grass, wear a dust mask. Better yet, have a family
member cut the grass: or hire someone to mow the lawn.
- Depending on the size of your property, trade in your walking mower
for a riding mower. For small lawns, use a push-mower rather than being
exposed to the fumes of a gas mower.
- Eliminate excessive kneeling and bending by investing in a small stool
- If necessary, relocate your garden tools and hose closer to your garden.
Creating a magnificent
garden takes considerable effort. Consider these tips for balancing COPD
health considerations with your love of gardening:
- Garden in moderation especially in the spring when you're raking
and preparing beds. Do a little at a time.
- Check The Weather
Network web site, where you can check air
quality and pollen
forecasts; if pollen or pollution levels are high, postpone your
- Ask for help whether it's trays of annuals, bags of dirt or
heavy annuals, have someone else do the heavy lifting for you. This
includes moving your purchases into and out of your car.
- Listen to your local weather report. Avoid working outside when allergen,
pollen and pollutant levels are high.
- Limit your exposure to intense heat and humidity; garden during the
cooler times of the day (early morning and late afternoon).
- Gently stretch and warm your muscles before you begin gardening.
- Slow down, relax and alternate cardio-intensive activities (i.e. reaching,
walking) with tasks requiring less exertion.
- Incorporate frequent breaks into your routine to reduce fatigue.
Redesign Your Garden
In the past, your garden
may have stretched for miles, displaying the bounty and beauty of your
labour. It's still possible to create a noteworthy garden but on a smaller
- Reduce the total size of your gardening area and flower beds. Consider
replacing areas of your garden with easier-to-reach raised beds.
- Get creative; swap your traditional garden for flourishing flower
window boxes. Transform your deck into a green oasis with colourful
- Pace your planting schedule with perennialsthey provide a yearly
return with a limited physical investment.
- If you have a large yard, consider replacing some of your garden or
grass areas with low-maintenance ground covers or no-maintenance pebble
stones or wood chips to enhance your outdoor space.
With some planning and inspiration, gardening can continue to be a source
of pleasure, relaxation and pride.