When I was younger, I had lots of energy to work in the garden hour after hour. I still love gardening as much as ever, but I’ve learned to pace my gardening activities so that I won’t suffer from aching arms and back as well as sore hands. I may not get all of the jobs done as quickly, but the important tasks do get done and my body stays in good shape.
The key is to avoid remaining at any one activity for too long. For example, I’ve learned that I can handle 20 to 30 minutes of pruning without getting sore the next day, so that’s when I stop and start another activity that doesn’t use these hand muscles. By the same token, when I’ve been digging for a while, I switch to another task whether I’m done or not. There’s always something else to do, or I can sit for a spell on the bench and do some garden planning or simply enjoy the garden.
The bonus to this technique is that I have energy and enthusiasm to go out again the next day.