Save your Back: Rake Leaves Correctly
Using improper technique can put your body at risk, whether you’re at the health club or working in the yard. Stay healthy with these tips.
Where’s the closest leaf pile? With autumn in full swingÂ comes with the task of having to rake the falling leaves. Similar to snow shoveling, raking leaves can be difficult on the back, causing discomfort and/or pain anywhere along the spine. The nature of raking leaves consists of a position that can injure your back if not done properly.
Instead of putting pressure on your lower back, bend from the hips and use the strength of your legs. Since this is a seasonal task, it is crucial to take frequent breaks to stretch backwards in the opposite position. This will reset your muscles from being hunched forward. Listen to your body and if you feel any soreness, stop and finish the task the next day so that you don’t overload your body and cause tissue damage.
To prevent low back pain while raking your yard try these tips:
- Warm-up first: Take a short walk.
- Do several lunges to get your hips mobile and loose before raking.
- Make sure to hinge from the hips.
- Keep your lower back in a neutral position maintaining lordosis — the reverse “c” curvature.
- Use your legs to power the movement rather than pulling from your back.
- Take frequent breaks to reset your muscles.
- Dress warmly to prevent cold muscles.
- Stay hydrated by drinking water throughout the task.
- Use a shovel instead of bending to down to pick up the leaves.
- Stretch your hips, glutes, and lower back following raking.