Now that the weather’s nice it’s time to clean up those flower beds and get your garden ready for the season. Does your back start to hurt just thinking about all the bending and lifting? It doesn’t have to! Use these tips to care for your low back before, during and after gardening!

Before:

Warmup: walk around the block for 10 minutes to get your body ready for what’s to come

Stretch: pull your knee into your chest alternating left to right 5 times each side

Bend: since you’ll be leaning forward a lot, do a few, controlled backbends (place your hands at the base of your back for support)

During:

DO: use your legs; if you are picking something up off the ground squat down to pick it up with your legs

DON’T: use your back; avoid rounding your back to pick things up or crouching when digging or weeding

DO: use your upper body; if you are weeding or planting, use a foam pad for your knees and use your hand for support while digging or pulling

DON’T: go hours without a break or stretching; taking a break will save your body from the aches

DO: hydrate; set a timer for 25 minutes to grab a glass of water and stretch it out

After:

Cooldown: take a walk to reset your body to it’s best posture

Stretch: lie on your back and pull your knees into your chest, rock slowly left to right to massage out the muscles that are tight

Cold Compress: if you end up with sore muscles take bag of ice and put it on your low back for 15 minutes