Raking leaves may seem like a simple outdoor chore, but raking improperly could result in unnecessary aches and pains. Raking can place a large strain on your mid and low back structures. By properly warming up your muscles, many injuries can be avoided.
- Before beginning, take a short walk (5-10 minutes) to stimulate circulation
- Before picking up the rake, do stretching exercises to warm up muscles. Follow up the activity with further stretching
- Try to stay in an upright posture while raking – avoid repetitive bending and twisting activity
- Bend at your knees, not your waist, when picking up piles of leaves
- Be sure to alternate hand positions to ensure that you are not over-working one side
- Drink plenty of water before, during, and after raking
- Take periodic breaks. A good rule of thumb is 10-15 minutes for each hour of strenuous activity
- Use ergonomic tools that are engineered to encourage proper body mechanics
If activities such as raking bring on pain, your Physical Therapist can help you figure out ways to continue perform the activity with less pain. This may involve simple changes in your form or some treatment sessions to decrease your pain and improve muscle strength and flexibility. Speak to your Physical Therapist or feel free to call me with any questions.