Though the weather in Colorado is never predictable, the falling leaves are one integral part of the fall season that even we can’t escape. If you are lucky enough to live somewhere that you have a yard, you inevitably will have to rake leaves at some point this season (after this snow melts!). As much as we love to see you in our office, we’d prefer you to be safe and smart with your activities, so follow these easy tips to make sure to protect your back.
Warm up & Stretch First
It may not seem like it, but raking does count as a workout - depending on the size of your yard some people will get more exercise than others. Take a couple of minutes before starting to stretch out your back, arms & shoulders to warm up your muscles.
Switch Sides - Don't Twist
Many people tend to only hold the rake on the dominant side of their body, this creates an imbalance that could lead to muscle strain. Make sure you are balancing time equally on both sides. Also try to make sure your feet are not planted while twisting your body. You want to be able to move both your feet and hips instead of twisting with your back. Staggering your stance so that one foot is ahead of the other will allow you to be more stable and have a greater range of motion.
Think Straight and Take Breaks
While you're raking you probably have a tendency to hunch over to get more done quickly. This speedy technique; however, may leave you down for the count the rest of the day with aching muscles. Hunching over alters the curves in your back, putting more pressure on your spine. Make sure you are standing all the way back up in between the motions to let your body readjust. It might take longer, but your back will thank you!
It's not a Race, but cool down when you get to the finish line.
As mentioned above, it is good to take breaks throughout your raking session. If your back is bothering you while you're raking, feel free to stop and stretch. When you're finished and you can see the grass in your yard again, take some time to do a little cool down. Whether that is taking a 5-10 minute walk or repeating your warm up stretches it is good to let your body wind down before heading back in to check on that football game.