Raking leaves is a rather unfulfilling, yet necessary chore during the Fall season. Many sustain injuries that could have easily been prevented with a little know-how. Here are some tips to keep in mind as you head out to take on mother nature.

Warm up before you start:
Take a walk or move around on the spot for 10-15 minutes to warm up your body. Make sure you move all the body parts including arms and feet.

While you are standing…
Stretch the sides – Extend your right arm over your head and bend left from the waist. Hold for 15 seconds and repeat on the opposite side.
Stretch your thighs – Lean against a stable fixture such as a tree or wall. Bend your right knee and grasp your ankle with your left hand. Hold for 15 seconds and repeat with your left.
Stretch your hamstrings – Stand tall and then slowly bend at the waist, reaching towards your toes. It’s okay if you can’t reach all the way to your toes. Hold for 15 seconds.
Stretch your shoulders and arms – Let your arm hang loose. Rotate your shoulder forward and back 5-10 times. Hug yourself snugly for 15 seconds and alternate your arms.
Stretch your back – In a seated position, bend from the hip, keeping your head down, and reach for the ground.

Taking on the task at hand:
Check your stance
1. Ease the strain on your back by putting one leg in front, the other behind
2. Maintain the natural curve of your back – don’t over bend or arch your back
3. Knees should be slightly bent and your center of gravity should be nice and leveled

While raking
1. Try to rake the leaves in front of you – Avoid twisting your back from reaching far to the left or right
2. Switch legs and hands from time to time
3. Check your position periodically
4. Take mini breaks or switch to other chores in the garden

While lifting
1. Make sure your back maintains a natural curve and always use your knees
2. Carry the load close to your body
3. Avoid heavy lifting immediately after bending or kneeling

Don’t let raking ruin your enjoyment of the Fall season. Keep these tips in mind while you rake and enjoy your life abundantly!

If you experience back pain or any problems lasting two days or more, feel free to contact Abundant Life Health Center for an assessment by Dr. Tammy Yuen.

Rake Without the Ache