Mowing the lawn can result in a variety of physical ailments, many of which can be avoided with the right mower.
By Joe Lamp'lMore in Outdoors
We Americans have a love affair with our lawns. Our desire to have at least some portion of our yards devoted to that lush green carpet of grass apparently still justifies the sacrifices we are willing to take to make it so.
For starters, lawns require a great deal of water, chemicals and, especially time to keep them looking their best. And the physical act of mowing commands much of that.
Yet in spite of technological, time-saving improvements, a small group of ambitious souls still choose to cut their lawns using an updated version of the old motor-less, push reel mower. In fact, they are even making a comeback in some market segments.
Although certainly not time-saving, they are a great way to combine the benefit of physical exercise while minimizing the environmental impact of noise and air pollution for which gas-powered mowers are known. Similarly, others opt for less labor-intensive yet more eco-friendly battery powered, electric or even propane fueled mowers.
The largest group of homeowners still opt for traditional gas-powered, walk-behind mowers. Yet no matter which style of mower you prefer, a new consumer study reveals that mowing the lawn can result in a variety of physical ailments, many of which can be avoided.
The national study of 665 adults was sponsored by mower manufacturer Lawn-Boy as part of its efforts to put a stop to those aches and pains. According to the study, about a third of lawn-mowing consumers reported having a sore back after mowing, while others reported problems with shoulders, arms, hands, legs or feet.
Commenting on the survey results, Joe Hager, senior engineer for Lawn-Boy, said the type of mower you use can make a big difference in how your body feels after mowing. "The right kind of mower helps people benefit from the aerobic exercise of yardwork without unnecessary strains."
Developing that "right kind of mower" today is the result of research that studies how homeowners actually use lawn mowers in their own yards. Engineers document how people exert energy and strain their bodies while mowing, and develop new features to avoid muscle or joint injury.
This research has resulted in the next generation of the classic self-propelled, walk-behind style of mower, all featuring improvements to make mowing easier. Such enhancements include adjustable handles, ergonomic grips, reduced mower weight and easy-turn wheels.
Other user-friendly, low-impact features include Lawn-Boy's self-propelled system that automatically senses and adjusts to your walking speed up to five miles per hour and grass-catching bags that can be removed or replaced with just one hand.
These days, the key to choosing the right lawn mower is to take a good look at your specific needs and go from there. Careful industry-wide studies, combined with improvements in technology, have created many options that make mowing lawns easier on the body than ever before. Now there's no longer a reason to settle for anything less than a perfect fit.
By using garden equipment, including mowers, that work with the body — not against it — yardwork continues to become an even healthier aerobic activity without all the pains and strains.