woman working on her knees in the garden
Photo: Stuart O'Sullivan/Stone/Getty
Ache-stopping stretch
Using your body properly will help you avoid aches later. While standing, keep your back straight with your knees bent slightly, neck and shoulders relaxed.

Get Low
Don't bend from the waist. Instead, kneel on a cushion, or sit on a stool or an overturned bucket, as long as it's low enough for you to maintain a straight back. Make access even easier by planting a raised bed (about 10 inches high) and using tools with longer handles.

Lift Smart
For heavy items, squat down and engage the muscles in your thighs and butt when you stand up, keeping your knees bent and your back straight. Hug heavy pots or bags of soil close to your body as you straighten.

Switch It Up
To avoid repetitive-stress injury, rotate tasks that involve doing the same motions again and again (raking, digging) every 15 to 20 minutes and briefly rest or stretch in between.
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