Tips to Save your Back while Raking Leavesby Liz Hoobchaak | Leave a Comment
Few people enjoy raking; however, it is an inevitable household chore come fall. Raking seems like a pretty easy task, but going about it improperly may lead to some lower and upper back strain. Raking is a very repetitive activity that uses many muscles in our lower back, upper back, neck, and shoulders. Here are some tips to help minimize sore muscles due to raking:
- Warm up your muscles before you begin raking to decrease risk of injury. Taking a short walk around your yard will warm up your muscles to get you ready for raking.
- Check the height of your rake. Make sure the rake is tall enough for you so that you do not have to bend too far forward.
- Wear gloves to avoid blisters on your hands.
- Proper posture and body mechanics are key to reducing injury with this strenuous task. Try to remain in an upright position and bend through your hips and knees, not your back. Avoid twisting your back by making sure you are not twisting your spine while your feet are planted on the ground. Pulling the rake directly towards your body and not to the side ensures that you are minimizing the twisting through your spine. If you must bend down to pick the leaves up to bag them, make sure you are bending at your knees, not through your spine. Consider investing in a tool that allows you to pick the leaves up without bending at all.
- Change hand positions. You can alternate hand positions or what side of your body you are holding the rake to ensure you are using your muscles evenly and not overworking one side.
- Take frequent brakes and drink plenty of water. If you have a very large yard, don’t feel that you have to accomplish raking it all in one day. It may be better for your body to break it up into a few days to give your body a much needed rest. Raking is an aerobic activity so make sure you are drinking plenty of fluids so you don’t get dehydrated.
- Cool down. Doing some simple stretches after raking will help your muscles to cool down and decrease soreness afterwards.
By following these tips, you can enjoy these last few nice fall weeks and clean up your yard safely and without injury.