The weather is finally getting warmer, which in upstate New York is definitely a treat, and we can get outside and resume our favorite activities, like gardening! Gardening is an extremely peaceful and relaxing activity that allows us to connect with nature, but if you’re not taking proper precautions, it can make a lasting impact on your body.

Gardening can lead to back pain, knee pain, pulled muscles, and so much more if you’re not paying attention to your body. Despite working out regularly and being in shape, not having the proper form and equipment can cause some serious damage.

Here are ACPT’s top 5 tips to stay safe while tending to your garden:

1. Don’t stay in one position for too long.

No matter what type of activity you are doing, sitting in one position for too long is never good for your body. If you’re working on a particular section in your garden, switch it up every couple of minutes so your muscles don’t cramp up and you don’t cause any harm to a specific muscle or bone.

2. Invest in proper equipment.

Always be sure that you have the right tools and equipment for what type of gardening you’re doing. For example, if you’re trying to remove a bush, have a saw strong enough to cut through branches. Don’t try pulling out a stump with just a shovel – that can cause significant pain and discomfort!

3. Stretch before and after gardening.

Give yourself ten minutes to stretch and warm up your muscles before you start working in your garden. This will reduce your chances of pulling a muscle or tweaking your back. By stretching after you’re done, your muscles will be able to recover more quickly, which will help you feel less sore the next day.

4. Use proper form when lifting objects.

Lifting items with your back instead of your legs can cause pain in your upper and lower back, sometimes leading to damage that requires professional treatment. In fact, this is a common challenge many of our patients face. When lifting something, especially heavy objects like stones or fertilizer bags, bend at the knees and lift with your legs! A wheelbarrow is also strongly suggested if you don’t have one.

5. Get professional treatment from a chiropractor or physical therapist.

If you experience any pain while gardening, stop immediately. Gardening should be a relaxing activity that allows you to use your muscles without causing bodily damage. Should you experience pain or discomfort, we recommend seeking professional help. Contact our Albany, New York office to schedule an appointment with a member of our experienced team of chiropractors and physical therapists. Our office can provide you with drug-free treatment so that you can get back to your garden in no time with no pain!