10 Simple Tips To Avoid Back Pain While Raking Leaves

Thu, 10/24/2013

Don't let your yearly fall yard clean up become "back breaking" work...
be sure to read these brief tips and enjoy a pain free weekend.

1.    Warm up - Take a 5-10 minute brisk walk to warm up your muscles. A warm muscle is less prone to injury and this is
       also a great way to spend some quality time enjoying the foliage before raking it up. Why not spend a few minutes to
       enjoy the poetic crunch of the leaves under your feet before they disappear into bags for the year?
2.    Choose the Right Rake – Use a rake that is the right fit for your body. Consider the rake height and width. Using a rake
       that is too long or too short will cause you to alter your posture and strain your muscles. Narrow rakes may make the
       job longer but wide rakes can take more effort with each stroke and place a strain on your back. Be sure to find a happy
       medium that is just right for you.  
3.    Watch Your Posture -  Muscle pain and strain occurs when you put your body in awkward positions and then try to
       contract or extend muscles in these odd positions. To maintain proper posture while raking keep your legs slightly bent,
       your weight centered, and reach with your arms and not your back. After every 20 minutes of raking activity be sure to
       take a break. Stand up straight, stretch your muscles, take a deep breath and enjoy the view of the beautiful fall day.
4.    Bend With Your Knees - When lifting leaves keep your back straight and bend with your knees and hips, not your back,
       when reaching down. And be sure to think about your leaf pile sizes. You want them small enough to not have to reach
       too far when depositing leaves, but large enough to enjoy a good playful jump into.
5.    Use a Tarp - Leaves are lightweight but as a group can become very heavy. Raking them onto a tarp and pulling one
       end of the tarp to move the leaves to your desired location is a great way to avoid exhaustion. Doing this can save your
       back constant bending over to pick up piles of leaves to put into a garbage bag or wheelbarrow.
6.    Switch Hands Frequently - We all have a dominant hand and forcing our body to switch back and forth is not just a
        good way to avoid muscle exhaustion and strain, but a good exercise for your brain. This challenges your brain to step
        beyond the normal habits of movement and can activate parts of the brain that are not't easily triggered otherwise.
        Anything that requires the brain to pay close attention to a formerly automatic behavior will stimulate brain-cell growth.
7.    Drink Plenty of Water - Muscles need water to function optimally. Raking leaves is an extended form of physical activity
       and replenishing your water intake is an important part of this activity. Every 20 minutes during your stand and stretch
       break be sure to enjoy a nice tall glass of water.
8.    Consider a Leaf Blower – There are some lightweight gas and electric leaf blowers on the market that are hand held
       or can be worn like a backpack. Blowing all the leaves into one large pile or onto a tarp can save time and lots of
       energy.
9.    Stretch - Stretching after physical activity is a much underutilized tool of injury prevention. Be sure to take 5-10 minutes
       after your day of raking in order to stretch your muscles thoroughly to enjoy much better muscle recovery.
10.  Reserve your Revelation Massage - At the end of the day be sure to call Revelation Massage to reserve your next
        healthy dose of relaxation. You will deserve it and your muscles will thank-you. Ask to have our Deep Heat Muscle
        Therapy added to your session for the ultimate in muscle relaxation.