It's that wonderful time of year when the weather is switching from sweltering to comfortable, pumpkin pies are being baked, cool evenings are being enjoyed by a bonfire, and beautiful colors are exploding on the trees.
Unfortunately, we all know that the explosion of color is followed by a blanket of leaves covering your yard. Which is then followed by back-breaking Saturdays spent raking those leaves to the curb. Here are some tips from Total Rehab Care to minimize the post-raking pain.
Tips for raking:
- Don’t rake until all the leaves are down on the ground.
- Always stretch first. Raking is a vigorous exercise and you need to warm up your muscles.
- Choose a rake that has a contoured handle so it is easier on the back and doesn’t require stooping or twisting. Find a rake that is comfortable for your body and hold onto it with one hand at the top of the handle and the other down further so your elbow bends slightly and your back is still straight.
- Use the power of your arms and legs to pull the rake. This minimizes how much effort your back has to exert.
- Make it a family event - have the kids help rake and make it fun by letting them jump in the leaf pile. (True, the piles won’t be super neat, but it’s fun and a great way to get the kids active!)
- Do not twist or bend your back forward while you are raking.
- Pace yourself and take frequent breaks, being sure to perform back extensions during each one.
- When it’s time to bag the leaves, kneel down onto one knee or even sit on the ground. This reduces the stress on your back. Use a foam pad or knee pads to decrease the pressure on your knees.
- Stretch the next day too.
- If you feel sore after raking and bagging, put ice on the affected areas – 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off, repeating as necessary.
- If there is any pain during raking, you should stop immediately.
If raking isn’t your style, consider these other options:
- Mulch the leaves while the grass is still growing (once the grass is done growing mulching them is not a good idea, as it hurts new growth)
- Use leaf blowers to collect the leaves in one central location and then bag them
My tip for raking is to follow it up with a mug of hot apple cider – it’s my favorite fall drink. :)
By Kayla Murphy