As the colder seasons quickly approach, leaves have also begun changing colours and falling from the trees. With this comes every homeowner’s dreaded chore of raking leaves. Although you may not suspect it, raking leaves can put you at risk for injuries. This is especially true for people with preexisting conditions, such as aches and pains in their back.
Fortunately, accidents can be easily prevented with some precautions.
Use proper raking equipment
Before you even begin, it is important to review your equipment. When picking a rake, avoid very heavy ones and opt for lighter ergonomic versions. You also want one that’s suited for your height. Having a rake that is too short means you will be bending over a lot, causing back and neck strain. Wearing gardening gloves will also help prevent any blisters from forming on your hands.
Shoe choice is important as well. Shoes affect your feet, legs, back, and overall gait. As leaf raking can become a long strenuous task, you want to be wearing shoes that provide proper support to keep yourself comfortable. Shoes that are slip-proof as well are ideal.
Proper raking techniques
While you’re raking, keep your back straight and legs slightly bent. Reach for leaves by moving your entire body, rather than reaching with your back. This will help prevent excessive twisting motions. Keep one leg in front of the other and alternate your foot position, as well as hand position to avoid strains from repetitive movements.
When picking up heavy items, such as bags of leaves, never lift with your back. Bend your knees and squat, using your leg muscles to help lift the object – making sure to keep your back straight. Additionally, avoid packing the bags too full so they are very heavy – especially if the leaves are wet.
Depending on the size of your front and back lawn, raking may take several hours to finish. As you get tired, it may become more difficult to maintain proper posture and techniques. This means that working continuously can put you at a higher risk for strained muscles or injuries. Taking frequent breaks will help prevent you from overexerting yourself.
Don’t forget to keep yourself hydrated and take plenty of breaks to drink water. Raking is a physical activity, and your body relies on water to keep itself functioning properly.
In case you get injured
Even when taking proper precautions, accidents do sometimes happen. If you end up injuring yourself, treat your injuries as soon as possible. Ignoring injuries will almost always lead to them getting worse. If you’re unsuccessful in treating your injuries at home, visiting a physical therapist to help with your recovery is a good idea. They will recommend different types of treatments suited for you, and help get you back on your feet in no time.