Here are twelve safety tip for raking leaves. When fall arrives and the leaves accumulate in the yard, I encourage my patients to follow these tips — especially those with osteoporosis, osteopenia, or low back pain.
- Face your leaves while you rake.
- Make a point of knowing where you are and what is around you so that you can walk backwards safely without tripping and falling.
- Always rake the leaves towards you.
- Keep your upper arms close to your body.
- Pull the rake using movement from your legs (not just your arms) and step back as you rake.
- Halfway through your job you should shift your raking activity to your other side. In other words, if you start raking from your left side then you should shift the raking effort to the right side as you cross the halfway mark of your job. This distributes the workload across your body avoiding fatigue or strain on one side of your body.
- Avoid movements that involve flexion of the spine and adjust (or avoid) movements that involve extreme rotation.
- Rotation of the body, while raking, can aggravate the back or bring on low back pain. I suggest you avoid this movement while raking.
- Reaching out to rake leaves and extending your body places stress on your spine. Instead, move closer to the leaves.
- In the video you will see that I am using a rake with a wide fan. You will also notice that I have a lot of leaves to gather and hence the need for the large fan. The challenge for many people who use large fans is that it requires a fair amount of strength.
- If you do not regularly include strength training in your exercise program you would be safer to use a rake with a smaller fan.
- It is best to rake when the leaves are dry (and light) and not when they are wet and heavy.
Benefits of Raking Leaves Safety Tips
Follow these twelve raking leaves safety tips and you will:
- Reduce your risk of a compression fracture.
- Avoid aggravating your back or neck pain raking your garden.
Activities of Daily Living
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