Gardeners of all ages often experience pain and discomfort resulting from the work they do while gardening.

Ergonomics can help gardeners be more efficient and effective with their work by combining gardeners' abilities with the requirements of their gardening work.

Ergonomics uses scientific information about people and the work they do to help avoid pain and injury by using correct posture and positioning. The following information gives ideas about how gardeners can be more efficient and avoid pain and injury.

There are three keys to taking care of your body during gardening. First, you must think about what you need to do to prepare. Next you will need to know about proper body positioning during your gardening. And last, remember to take frequent breaks while working.

To prepare for your gardening, do a 10-minute warm-up activity such as a brisk walk around your yard or assembling gardening equipment and supplies. Drink plenty of water before and during work to avoid dehydration and help your body work efficiently.

Also be sure to stretch the muscles you are working before and during work. Additionally, purchase tools that are of good quality and permit a comfortable grasp and a thumbs-up position.

Proper body positioning is important to avoid undue stress on your body and avoid pain and injury.

Sally Townsend is a master gardener volunteer with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oneida County. Look for more gardening tips in the Observer-Dispatch or online at www.cceoneida.com.