Tandem Physical Therapy

5 Tips to Avoid Aches and Pains While Gardening

I was out on a walk this weekend enjoying the lovely sunshine and milder temperatures and couldn’t help but notice so many of my neighbors tending to their garden. It got me thinking about all of my patients who come to me around this time of year complaining about how their back, neck and legs hurt after gardening or performing lawn work.

Here are my 5 favorite tips on reducing aches and pains while still being able to get out into your garden and take care of your lawn.

#1 Warm up – Consider gardening an exercise or sport. You will want to take 5-10 minutes to warm your body up before starting this type of activity. Move around, take a short walk and get your body moving before getting started.

#2 Choose your time of day wisely – The heat can be brutal during the summertime. Choosing to garden in the morning or evening hours will help offset the hot temperatures, sun exposure and dehydration.

#3 Change positions frequently – Pay attention to how your body is when you are working in your garden. If you have been leaning forward for a little while and your back starts to ache, slowly stand up and lean backward a few times to stretch. Then, switch to a different position when you resume.

#4 Be careful lifting heavy objects – I can’t tell you how many of my patients hurt themselves while trying to lift bags of mulch or heavy planters. Use a garden cart or wheelbarrow to move heavy objects. If you must lift it, bend your knees, tighten your abdominals and keep your back straight as you lift. Avoid twisting your back when moving things. Instead, move your feet to turn your body as one unit.

#5 Take breaks – You don’t have to complete your entire garden in one day! If you haven’t gardened in a while, plan on working in short stints and stopping BEFORE you start feeling aches and pains.

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