Avoid the ache, know how to rake!

Avoid the ache, know how to rake!

Fall is arguably the most beautiful season of the year. As the weather begins to cool and the leaves change colour, we know it’s time for raking lawns. While working in the yard is an activity that many enjoy, it can cause back pain or other potential injuries if not done carefully. Here are some ways that you can perform yard work harmlessly this fall.

Warm-Up and stretch: Before you start, always remember to warm up your muscles by briskly walking for 5-10 minutes. You can walk around the block, around the house, or even on the spot. Gentle stretches that focus on the neck, back, hips, torso, wrists, and shoulders improve muscle dynamics and are a great way to prepare the body. Make sure to stretch while taking breaks and after you finish your tasks.

Use proper form. Using proper form when performing tasks can prevent ache, reduce strain on the muscles, and joints and can prevent injuries.

  1. Hold the rake close to your body and keep both hands on the rake; alternating positions often.
  2. Stand with your knees bent slightly. Do not bend too forward at the waist.
  3. Keep one foot forward and follow with the hips.
  4. Try to keep your back straight and avoid twisting.

Pace yourself. What’s the hurry? You do not have to handle a large number of leaves in one shot. The best thing to do is to spread the work through the week and this will limit the amount of strain you experience each day. If that is not possible, spread it throughout the day and keep yourself well hydrated at all times. Dehydrated muscles are more likely to strain.

Take breaks.  Don’t rush to get the raking done as quickly as possible and don’t push yourself to the point where you are exhausted. Doing this will cause you to be careless with good posture, which can result in injuries. When doing leisurely activities, you should take a 10-15 minute break every 45-60 minutes. During the break, remember to rehydrate, rest, and stretch before resuming the activity.

Change positions. Since raking is a repetitive movement, using only one side of your body can exhaust your muscles. Ensure you switch sides to prevent your muscles from aching.

Use a good rake. Use a rake that is a good size for you. There are also many ergonomically-shaped rakes that can prevent strain in your lower back and spine.

Hopefully, with these tips, your fall clean up this year will be painless. If at any time you feel any discomfort or ache that lasts for longer than 48 hours, our team at YOUR HEALTH wellness is here to help! Call in and see one of our chiropractors who are trained to diagnose and treat your muscles and joints. They will work with you to help you go back to living life pain-free!