The key point to remember if you want to keep your back safe when you are working in your yard is to use proper form and be mindful of your body’s position. If you are in the wrong position doing any work that is labor intensive, whether it is while you are gardening or other activities, it won’t be long before you develop a backache.
Follow these tips to prevent back pain when you garden:
Tip #1: Don’t Kneel or Bend Over Excessively
If you are constantly kneeling down and bending over, you are almost guaranteed to experience some back pain. Using well-constructed tools such as the Yard Butler TNT 4 Twist & Tiller can help you properly aerate and dig up your garden without bending over. Measuring in at 37 inches, this essential gardening tool also features a sturdy plate for you to step on while you work. This lets your body weight alleviate some of the work that, with other tools, would come from your back. In addition, the Yard Butler has a lifetime warranty, so there is no reason not to try this helpful tool.
Tip #2: Stretch Before Strenuous Work
A short, 15 minute or so walk, followed by a few stretches, can help to minimize the pain your back experiences after a day of working in the garden. You can also perform side bends, deep knee bends, or jog in place. Try laying down on your back, then bring your knees to your chest, one at a time. You can also do this simple stretch while standing up. Make sure you drink plenty of water before you start stretching, as well as during your gardening activities.
Tip #3: Sit Down
It is common knowledge that minimizing the time you spend bending over will lower your risk of back pain and injury. No matter what your budget is, you can find a garden seat or kneeler that can help. They will allow you to sit down while you garden, instead of standing and bending over. They are often also reversible, which means you can kneel on the ground without fear of getting dirty or scraping up your knees. This will also lessen the strain on your back, which is always good. One product that may help is the Spear & Jackson Garden Kneeler and Seat or Kneeling Bench Chair. It is durable, well built, affordable, and available in many colors.
Tip #4: Maintain Proper Posture and Form
When you are raking leaves, your head should be up, and your back straight. Try to maintain a scissors stance, which is one foot back and the other forward, reversing the stance every few minutes. If you have to bend down, don’t bend at the waist. When you pick up piles of weeds or leaves, make them small. Bend your knees instead of bending forward from your back, as this lets your legs do the work.
When using handheld powered gardening tools such as leaf blowers, position them close to your body. Stretching or reaching while holding heavy items will put pressure on your back. When you mow your lawn, position the handlebars near your stomach, as this will reduce back pain. Again, don’t bend over at the waist, push the mower using your upper body.
Again, don’t bend over at the waist, push the mower using your upper body. Proper posture and being in good form while gardening will not only make your gardening more efficient, it will also protect your back from injury.
Takeaway: Doing yard work with bad posture or positioning for an extended period of time can cause some serious problems for your back. Use the tips you learned here next time you are out in your garden, and make back pain a distant memory.