Autumn is one of the most beautiful seasons of the year. It is the perfect time to go outside, get some fresh air, and get in a natural workout – raking leaves. Raking is a physical activity that can help individuals stay active, but raking is often accompanied by the strains and pain associated with repetitive motions. Fortunately, raking injuries can be prevented by following a few guidelines.
1. Dress appropriately: Dress in layers as you will work up a sweat after you’ve been raking for a while. Wear shoes with skid-resistant soles to minimize the risk of falling especially during wet days.
2. Warm up: With any physical activity, it is important to warm up your muscles for about 10 minutes with light exercise and stretching, especially when it is cold outside. Do some circular arm movements, forward, backward, and side bends to help open you up and ready you for all of the raking, bending, and lifting you will do.
3. Right tools: Use a rake that is comfortable for your height and strength. Wear gloves or use rakes with padded handles to prevent blisters.
4. Proper technique: Stand upright and rake leaves to the side of you, switching sides every 10 minutes. Bend at the knees - not the waist - when picking up piles of gathered leaves. Avoid twisting to toss leaves. Instead, step to the side so your whole body switches position, not just your shoulders and back.
5. Take breaks: Take your time and enjoy the outdoors. Take a rest every 10 to 15 minutes. Drink some water to stay hydrated and stretch to release tension you may have built up.
6. Afterwards: When you are done raking, make sure to cool down with some more stretches. Have a warm Epsom salt bath.
7. Have regular spinal checkups in order to ensure optimal functioning of your spine and nervous system.
If you have any questions regarding chiropractic or any health related questions, do not hesitate to contact your chiropractor for more information.
Dr. Jason Yang, D.C.