Raking and collecting leaves is good physical exercise which helps to reinforce muscles, improve posture and reduce the risks of certain pathologies such as osteoporosis. Although pleasant for some, raking leaves is vigorous activity which causes many injuries treated in our clinic. Raking involves repetitive movements and tireless work combining bending, reaching, twisting and carrying over a long period of time.
To prevent this activity from becoming a burden, injuries and overworking the muscles, here are some tips you should follow.
- Change your heavy old rake for an updated ergonomic version. Look for a light-weight rake with a bent shaft and a padded handle.
- Warm up and stretch out your muscles.
- Keep your back straight, your neck muscles relaxed and keep your elbows slightly bent and close to the side of your body.
- Face the pile and rake the leaves towards your body, in a front-to-back motion.
- Do not rake on wet ground while leaves are heavy and slippery!
- Regularly change the positions of your hands on the shaft of the rake; while simultaneously changing your forwardly positioned leg with the back in order to prevent muscular aches and distribute the work more evenly.
- Take frequently breaks in order to avoid becoming tired, which could cause you over-compensate also causing injuries.
- Do not bend at the waist when you fill the bag instead bend your knees and do not fill it excessively. Also bend your knees when you raise the heavy bags and do not use your back.
- Wear shoes adapted to the work to prevent falls.
- Finally, if you already suffer from back pain, elbow pain, or any other injury, this kind of seasonal work can worsen your situation. Get your kids involved or hire your young neighbour to do the work if necessary. It is a small investment which will prevent injury and several treatments of physiotherapy.