Summer is swell, but we love autumn around here. The scenery here in Vancouver is stunning, we welcome the relief from hot afternoons, and the kids are heading back to another year in school. As a chiropractor in Vancouver WA, though, I do see potential for new injuries with the change of seasons. In fall, we reach for rakes and tools to do the last bits of yard work before winter sets in, and raking leaves can cause back injuries if you don’t follow these tips.
Make no mistake — leaf raking is exercise, and you should stretch before you head out to the yard just like you would if you were going to the gym. Get your muscles ready for action by stretching your lower back, shoulders and arms.
Protect Your Back with Good Posture
Avoid hunching over while raking to protect your back and reduce strain on your lower back. Unless you want to spend the season recovering on the couch, straighten up between raking movements to give your back a break.
Don’t Do the Twist
When surrounded by leaves, many rakers try to be efficient by standing in one place and twisting their backs to reach as many leaves as possible. This puts too much work on the spine, so let your hips and feet get in on the action by shuffling around and rotating your entire body to reach a new pile.
Take a Break
Actually, you should take many breaks! Rake for fifteen minutes, then take a rest, sip on some water and take a seat to take some pressure off your back.
If you follow these tips, you’ll clear your yard of leaves and ensure your back stays healthy so you can enjoy everything the season has to offer!