body mechanics

Preparing and planting your garden and working to keep your lawn in tip top shape is hard on your joints. Whether you are moving dirt, hauling mulch, clearing leaves or transplanting plants again, your body pays the price for a beautiful landscape. There are several things you can do to protect yourself from back injury as well as reducing knee wear and tear. Download printable brochure.


  • Plant low maintenance shrubs and perennials in harder to reach areas

  • Choose ground cover plants for weed and moisture control rather than too much weeding or weed barrier

  • Use raised beds (2-3 inch height) or other higher objects (tubs, boxes, old sinks) with drainage

  • Try gardening from a kneeling position or use a kneeler seat

  • Use a chair or a sturdy upside down bucket to plant from a seated position


  • Look for lightweight, long handled tools

  • Try sharp bypass instead of anvil-type pruners

  • Use soaker hoses or have an irrigation system installed to reduce the need to pull a hose or carry a watering can

  • Transport items around the garden or lawn using a large four-wheeled garden cart or wagon that support their own weight and provide stability

  • Wear seamless snug-fitting gloves to reduce the strain on your hands and enhance grip

  • Make your feet happy in shoes with an arch and cushion or in a hiking type boots to support ankles on uneven terrain. Avoid slip-on shoes without backs.

Gardening Tips

Warm it up

  • Walk around a bit before you begin gardening and do some gentle stretching

Reduce the load

  • Use smaller spade face which will shovel smaller loads and reduce back strain

  • Don’t overfill wheelbarrows/cart and test load first BEFORE lifting

  • Take more trips with items instead of one big load

  • Ask others for assistance with difficult/heavy tasks

  • Buy garden supplies in small/light weight quantities

Use proper body mechanics

  • Bend from the hips and not the waist in order to use your legs to lift

  • Turn your feet to move the load rather than lifting and twisting

  • Pull your navel in slightly toward your back to help support your spine, but especially when lifting or raking


  • Maintain the curvature of your spine with a slight arch at the waistband

  • Keep your knees ‘soft’ (avoid locking them straight)

  • Alternate the forward hand on your shovel

  • NEVER let your head be lower than your rear-end

Give yourself a Break

  • Avoid holding one posture for prolonged periods of time (take a break every 10-20 minutes)

  • Reverse the bend (if you have been bending forward, take a minute to bend backward a few times)

  • Rotate between jobs to reduce the strain on your back and knees

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F.A.S.T. is an easy way to remember the sudden signs of stroke. When you can spot the signs, you'll know that you need to call 9-1-1 for help right away. F.A.S.T. is:
F: Face Drooping – Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. Is the person's smile uneven?
A: Arm Weakness – Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
S: Speech Difficulty – Is speech slurred? Is the person unable to speak or hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like "The sky is blue." Is the sentence repeated correctly?
T: Time to call 9-1-1 – If someone shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get the person to the hospital immediately. Check the time so you'll know when the first symptoms appeared.