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Protect Your Back When Raking Leaves

Admiring autumn’s splendor is one thing, but being left to rake the blanket of leaves in your yard isn’t exactly glorious. That’s because this chore can wreak havoc on the back if done incorrectly. However, if you use proper posture and technique, you can crank up the cardio and get a workout in.

Warm up Those Muscles

Protect your back when Raking leavesJust as you should warm up before running or engaging in another type of exercise, you also should warm up before raking. Why? If your muscles are cold and tight, they are more likely to become injured than if they are flexible and warmed up.

Before you begin raking, spend about 5-10 minutes warming up. To get the blood moving, march in place or take a brisk walk. You also can do some simple stretches, so there is less strain on your neck, shoulders and back muscles. Side bends and knee-to-chest lifts are some helpful stretches to perform.

Lift the Right Way

When you lift anything, even if it’s a bag filled with lightweight leaves, it’s essential to use a proper lifting posture. Let your legs do the work of lifting, not your back. Keep your back straight and bend with the knees and hips.

If you are using bags, don’t fill them to the brim. You should be able to pick up the bags easily.

Rake Downhill If You Can

Though leaves are light, of course, they follow the gravitational pull. When you’re raking on a slant, rake in a downhill direction whenever possible. Taking this approach will make the job go much more quickly and easily. And when possible, rake with the wind.

Vary Your Positions

It’s a good idea to change your position when raking. If you plant your foot and pull and twist in a repetitive motion, your back eventually will pay the price in the form of a sprain and strain. Your neck and shoulders also will be stressed. The solution? Move as many body parts as possible. The ideal raking position uses your ankles, knees, hips and arms.

Step forward with your right foot and backward with your left foot for 5-10 pulls, then reverse (left foot forward, right foot back). It’s also ideal to pull the rake back with your entire body, not just your upper body.

Know When to Say When

Know your limitations and be sure you don’t overexert yourself. If you start to get tired, stop for the day. You don’t have to rake your entire yard in one session. You have plenty of time this season to get the task wrapped up.

Let Someone Else Do It

If you’ve raked leaves for years, why not assign the task to someone else? If your children are old enough, assign them the job of raking the leaves. Or, consider paying someone else to tackle the job.

Get Adjusted

Before you take on the mammoth job of raking a yard full of leaves, see your chiropractor to get adjusted. It’s also a good idea to get adjusted afterward to make sure your spine is aligned and healthy.

Make an appointment today!

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