Fall has arrived with its usual fanfare, from the brilliant colors of the changing trees to football tailgates and pumpkin patches. With its crisp air and endless outdoor activities, October is invigorating.
But don’t let the invigoration get the best of you—especially while raking leaves. If you over-do it, you risk hurting your back, as well as your shoulders, neck and arms.
To avoid injury while raking, follow these simple tips:
- As with all activities, give yourself a few minutes to warm up. Stretch your back, neck, shoulders and arms to avoid sore muscles when you are finished.
- Don’t try to do it all by yourself in one session. That maple tree has more leaves than you can ever tackle wisely in one raking session. If you can, recruit others to help; but if you must go it alone, give yourself a few days to tackle the task.
- Make sure the rake you use is lightweight and appropriate for your height.
- Rake with short, even strokes. If you will be doing any lifting, better to tackle several smaller piles than a large, heavy load that could result in an injury. And remember: lift with your knees, not your back.
- Maintain good posture. After every few raking strokes, stop and stand erect to straighten out your spine.
- Of course, it’s not a bad idea to invest in quality leaf blower to lessen the workload!