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It’s that time of year again. The air is getting cooler, and the leaves are falling off the trees. While this can be a fun family activity and great exercise, let’s not forget to take care of our backs while taking on this activity. Here are a few tips to ensure you reduce the chances of injury while making your lawn look amazing!
So many of us sit for a large portion of our day whether it be at a desk or behind the wheel of our car. Then we try to jump directly into performing strenuous activities like raking leaves. Our muscles must always be ready to perform the task at hand by having the proper flexibility. Below are a few tips about how to stretch the larger muscles in the body that will be used when you rake leaves. Hold each stretch for approximately 30 seconds and repeat for 5 cycles.
- Upper Back: Clasp hands together in front with arms straight out. Gently pull shoulder blades apart and bend head forward.
- Lower Back: Clasp hands behind head and arch back while looking upward
- Shoulder: Place right arm across chest, gently pull right elbow forward with left hand until stretch is felt in the back of the shoulder. Repeat with the left arm.
- Sides of Neck: Gently bring right ear to right shoulder by placing right hand on head and gently assisting the stretch. Repeat for left side.
- Hamstring: With heel propped on an elevated surface, keep leg and back straight and lean forward until a stretch is felt in back of thigh. Repeat for the other leg.
- Quadriceps: Standing with hand on back of chair/counter. Bend knee, lift leg and grasp heel with arm on the same side. Pull heel towards buttocks until a stretch is felt in the front of the thigh. Repeat for other leg.
- Calf: Place foot against a stair or wall and keep knee straight. Move body forward until a stretch is felt in back of lower leg. Repeat for other leg.
Posture When Raking Leaves
Be sure to keep a slight bend in the knees to keep a good base of support. Avoid reaching too far for any leaves, and keep your workspace close. It is also important to balance the work from the left and the right. Plan to work on an area to the right, and then balance the same level of work to the left by creating two piles as a nice visual of work completed.
When collecting the leaves with a sheet or tarp, be sure to bend at the knees while keeping the back straight. Lift using the legs and keep weight close to the center of the body.
Be sure to have fun with family and friends when gathering leaves, but use these tips to ensure you so it safely. We will definitely be here at The Joint NC to treat your aches and pains and to keep you feeling your best!