Raking Leaves: The Do’s and Dont’s
It’s that time of year again – pumpkin spice latte’s, visits to the pumpkin patch, and hoodies galore! It’s also time for beautiful fall foliage and raking leaves. Raking leaves can provide good aerobic exercise, but it also can everything from blisters to back pain. Check out these handy tips brought to you by Health News Digest to stay enjoying the Autumn leaves this fall!
• Use a rake which is the right size for you. The handle should be chin height and hands should be able to hold the rake 18″ to 24″ apart. A rake that is too short can hurt the back; one that is too heavy can strain shoulders and neck.
• Wear appropriate layers of lightweight clothing.
• Wear gloves to prevent blisters.
• Wear skid resistant shoes – leaves can be wet and cause a fall.
Get it done!
• Warm up muscles with light stretches of the arms, back and legs.
• Alternate hands with raking, and stagger feet to help shift weight.
• Make short strokes, so you don’t overextend muscles.
• Rake to the side, keeping the back straight.
• Bend at the knees, instead of at the back.
• Don’t twist. It’s better to move the legs and pivot the body to shift your weight.
• Be careful not to overstuff the bags. Remember that wet leaves weigh more, so pack less leaves in the bags when they’re wet.
• When moving the bags, make sure to lift with the legs – bend the knees and keep your back straight and stomach tight. If a bag is large and awkward to lift, walk backwards pulling the bag, or use a handcart or dolly to move it.
• Pace yourself and take breaks.
• Remember to stretch after you finish.
Most importantly, listen to what your body is telling you. If you feel intense pain or tingling in your arms, stop immediately and seek medical attention. If you aren’t used to that level of activity, expect to be sore for the first 24 hours after raking. Soreness should improve after that point. Anyone who does not feel better, or feels an increase in soreness, should seek medical attention immediately.
Aliani, Michele. “Raking Leaves This Fall – Tips to Prevent Injury.” HealthNewsDigest. N.p., 29 Oct. 2014. Web. 24 Aug. 2016.