This blog is excerpted from EveryDay Health, originally written by Marie Suszynski, Medically Reviewed by Pat F. Bass III, MD, MPH.

There’s so much to do when summertime hits, from family vacations to sports activities to gardening and yard work. But too often we start the summer with enthusiasm only to be sidetracked by crippling back pain. Make note of these five tips to avoid  pain and enjoy your summer season to the fullest.

You’re socked with a double risk for back pain when you set out to mow your lawn. First, starting the lawn mower can lead to injury.  Second, leaning forward as you push the lawn mower can strain and pain the back. What can you do to prevent back pain from mowing? Stretch before you start by bending forward, backward, left, and right. Then do your best to maintain good posture and take breaks rather than trying to do the whole job all at once.

2. Give Flip-Flops the Boot

The stability of your foot and the support of your arch affect everything, including your back. Since a flimsy pair of flat flip-flops can lead to back pain symptoms, choose a sandal that supports your arch and keeps your foot stable with support around your heel and the front of your foot. This is especially true when you want to avoid back pain while doing yard work. To avoid pain, wear good, supportive shoes rather than flip-flops or old tennis shoes.

Carrying any heavy bag stresses your posture and is a common cause of back pain, and a golf bag loaded with clubs can weigh as much as 35 pounds. The goal is to limit the weight of any bag you tote to no more than 10 percent of your body weight. Protect against back pain by using a pull-cart bag on the golf course and by buying the lightest golf bag that you can. Doing stretching exercises before and after your golf game will also help prevent pain.

4. Travel Smart

Your body was designed to change position frequently. When you know you will be cooped up in the car for several hours, short-circuit potential back pain symptoms by pre-treating your back: Take a brisk walk to warm up before your trip and do the same once you get where you’re going. Pulling over for frequent car breaks will also help you avoid body aches and pains.

Sitting on an airplane for hours at a time is much like driving or riding in the car. Prevent pain by using back support. Place a pillow or rolled blanket behind your back above your belt and another in the gap between your head and the headrest. If possible, get up and walk the aisle a few times during your flight. Also, save your back from the pain and strain of lifting a heavy bag into an overhead compartment by checking anything that’s heavier than 5 to 10% of your body weight.

When the sun comes out to stay, you may find that extra motivation to set fitness goals for yourself. However, remember that you may have become de-conditioned over the cold winter months and need to ease back into daily activity to avoid back pain symptoms. Rather than starting out by walking five miles a day, begin with short jaunts and increase your mileage over several weeks. This gradual approach will also help you avoid sore muscle pain and back pain symptoms from overdoing activity.

If you’ve tried these tips and are still experiencing pain in your neck, back, arm, hands, legs or feet, the Bonati Spine Institute is here to help. Allow our highly-skilled surgeons to review your case and verify if you are a candidate for the Bonati Spine Procedures. Getting started is easy. Simply call 855-267-0482 or complete our contact form.

Read the full article at Everyday Health here: