Many people, even those who are young, have experienced pain, after mowing their lawn. Without appropriate precautions, this activity can have quite a negative impact on your back, neck, and shoulders. You can, however, reduce or eliminate pain and the possibility of injury with proper planning.

First, MAKE SURE YOUR MOWER IS SET TO THE RIGHT HEIGHT FOR YOUR BODY. The handle of the lawn mower should come to your mid-waist, allowing you to push with your legs (not your back). Most lawn mowers are adjustable and if you have one that isn’t, consider upgrading to one that will provide you this option.

Next, when you are pushing the lawnmower, KEEP YOUR ELBOWS CLOSE TO YOUR BODY.  Keeping the mower close to your torso, with your hands shoulder-width apart, allows you to reduce or eliminate the strain on your back and arms.

When you need to mow behind you, STOP, PAUSE, LOOK BEHIND YOU, THEN RETURN BOTH HANDS TO THE MOWER BEFORE YOU START WALKING BACK. Many people take one hand off the mower, twist, pull, and continue mowing, while simultaneously checking behind themselves. The amount of muscle stress and strain substantially increases when you twist, and pull heavy equipment with a single hand. This is especially intense when the grass is thick and/or the ground is moist.

When you have trees or bushes in your yard, TRIM LOW-HANGING LIMBS OR BRANCHES BEFORE YOU MOW. Though we might not realize it, ducking under branches while you are mowing, combined with the weight of the mower, is hard on your body. While most of us tend to consider trimming branches a separate, less frequent lawn maintenance activity, walking through your yard and taking care of these obstructions before you get started, makes mowing much easier and less stressful.

Lastly, TAKE FREQUENT BREAKS AND HYDRATE. Mowing your lawn is an exercise that warrants thoughtful self-care.