As much as we love the look and smell of a fresh cut lawn, it does cut into other activities you would rather be doing. That’s why properly stretching before you start mowing—even if you have a sit-down mower--is key to avoiding any tweaks to your back that could further delay your golf or tennis game or other activity.
“Mowing the lawn can make you more vulnerable to injury for several reasons. The first has to do with the vibration, which can cause lower back pain for some people,” said Dr. David Dwyer, president of Chiropractic Society of Rhode Island and a chiropractor at Toll Gate Chiropractic in Warwick and Wakefield, Rhode Island. “If you have a push mower, there’s a tendency to lean forward, particularly as you go up or downhill. This adjustment to your posture can also make you more vulnerable. It can be even more risky with self-propelled mowers that can have a mind of their own sometimes.”
Prior to cutting the grass or any strenuous yard work, Dr. Dwyer recommends doing some simple stretches like bending forward, backwards and on each side before you begin.
“You want to be very aware of your posture while you mow, standing or sitting up straight,” said Dr. Dwyer. “If you feel your neck, shoulders or back tighten up at any point, take a break to stretch.”
Footwear also plays a part. People tend to wear their old, worn-out work boots or sneakers to mow. That make sense on one hand, but if you’re wearing worn shoes that no longer have adequate support, you’re rolling the dice.
Also, make sure to stay hydrated before, during and after you mow. This is even more critical in the cooler weather in the mornings when you may not perspire as much but are dehydrating just the same.
Finally, do a little stretching after you finish and then head in for a hot shower. If you have additional yard work to do, you will want to do a little more stretching after you rest and rehydrate from cutting the lawn.
“Stretching is essential before any activity, whether its your golf game, cutting your lawn or raking leaves,” said Dr. Dwyer. “By taking the time to stretch, staying hydrated and periodic adjustments with a chiropractor, you can get your yardwork done and get back to your fun summer activities.”