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Here are twelve safety tips 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.

Twelve Safety tips for Raking Leaves

  1. Face your leaves while you rake.
  2. Make a point of knowing where you are and what is around you so that you can walk backwards safely without tripping and falling.
  3. Always rake the leaves towards you.
  4. Keep your upper arms close to your body.
  5. Pull the rake using movement from your legs (not just your arms) and step back as you rake.
  6. 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.
  7. Avoid movements that involve flexion of the spine and adjust (or avoid) movements that involve extreme rotation.
  8. Rotation of the body, while raking, can aggravate the back or bring on low back pain. I suggest you avoid this movement while raking.
  9. Reaching out to rake leaves and extending your body places stress on your spine. Instead, move closer to the leaves.
  10. 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.
  11. If you do not regularly include strength training in your exercise program you would be safer to use a rake with a smaller fan.
  12. It is best to rake when the leaves are dry (and light) and not when they are wet and heavy.
raking leaves

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.

Exercise Recommendations for Osteoporosis

Exercise is an essential ingredient to bone health. If you have osteoporosis, therapeutic exercise needs to be part of your osteoporosis treatment program.

But what exercises should you do and which ones should you avoid? What exercises build bone and which ones reduce your chance of a fracture? Is Yoga good for your bones? Who should you trust when it comes to exercises for osteoporosis?

A great resource on exercise and osteoporosis is my free, seven day email course called Exercise Recommendations for Osteoporosis. After you provide your email address, you will receive seven consecutive online educational videos on bone health — one lesson each day. You can look at the videos at anytime and as often as you like.

I cover important topics related to osteoporosis exercise including:

  • Can exercise reverse osteoporosis?
  • Stop the stoop — how to avoid kyphosis and rounded shoulders.
  • Key components of an osteoporosis exercise program.
  • Key principles of bone building.
  • Exercises you should avoid if you have osteoporosis.
  • Yoga and osteoporosis — should you practice yoga if you have osteoporosis?
  • Core strength and osteoporosis — why is core strength important if you have osteoporosis?

Enter your email address and I will start you on this free course. I do not SPAM or share your email address (or any information) with third parties. You can unsubscribe from my mail list at any time.

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Activities of Daily Living

Visit my page dedicated to Activities of Daily Living to learn about other activities of daily living.


October 15, 2019 at 7:06pm

Susan Breakiron-Lowe

Thank you so much for your insights to safety first. Love this article "How to Rake Leaves." I have been following you since I found out I had osteopenia in 2008 which now advanced to osteoporosis in 2018.

October 16, 2019 at 8:28am

Richard Martin replies

Hi Susan. Thank you for your kind comments and following Margaret's posts. It is important that you follow many of the suggested guidelines in light of the change in your bone health.

October 15, 2019 at 9:12pm


Do you approve of bone drugs?

October 16, 2019 at 8:30am

Richard Martin replies

Hi Patty. Thank you for following Margaret's posts. You can learn more about pharmaceuticals, Prolia in particular, in this post. They have their role. Margaret wrote this post so that people could be in a better position to make an informed decision with their physician.

October 29, 2020 at 6:11pm


Thank u Margaret for all your steps and tips. I am new to Osteopenia and I’m learning how to live my new normal ????

October 29, 2020 at 7:12pm

Richard Martin replies

Thank you for your comments and sharing.

October 21, 2021 at 11:18am

Yvonne Grey

Thank you for the free exercise series for oestioporosis. I didnt receive the last one on core exercises but have been doing the others. I just want to be able to keep as much mobility as possible. I have oestioporosis in my lower spine which does make my back ache but its bearable & Im learning how to manage it. Yvonne Grey

October 21, 2021 at 8:27pm

Richard Martin replies

Lesson #7 • Core Strength and Osteoporosis

October 20, 2022 at 10:14am

Terry Holliday

Thank you for consistently keeping this community informed; the beauty of it is that is free. Making available to all. Margeret we appreciate you????????????????????????????????

October 20, 2022 at 11:27am

Richard Martin replies

Thank you for your comments.

October 20, 2022 at 8:43pm


Do you have suggestions on best ways to pick up the leaves safely? Thanks.