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Rake Without Ache

When it's time to rake the leaves this fall, there are some simple steps you can take to avoid pain or other problems, says the Canadian Physiotherapy Association.

Before you start raking, warm up with light walking and easy stretches to loosen your muscles and help circulation. Hold the stretches for about 20 seconds and repeat them two to three times each.

Use a rake with a bent or side handle, or build up the rake handle with plastic tubing. This helps keep your wrist in a neutral position and reduces the need for you to keep a tight grip on the handle while you rake.

Place one hand at the top of the rake handle and the other hand down far enough so that there's only a slight bend in your elbow. This enables you stand up as straight as possible, using only your arms and legs to rake.

Step side to side as you rake, which will prevent you from overreaching with your arms. Change foot positions every few minutes while you rake. Reversing hand positions regularly while you rake reduces stress on one side of your trunk, back or arm.

Take frequent short rest breaks and briefly bend backward while placing your hands on the small of your back. This helps counteract the pressure and torque placed on your lower back when you're in the forward bend position used during raking.

Keep leaf piles small and don't overstuff leaf bags. This will help avoid back strain.


Reference Source 101

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