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RAKING LEAVES SAFELY IN YOUR YARD

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BY SARAH KELLYIN FITNESS & EXERCISE

What a GORGEOUS Fall we are having…a nice reward after a somewhat blistering summer! Autumn months of course means falling leaves and seasonal yard clean-up. Yardwork can lead to lots of injuries if not done properly, preventing you from doing things you enjoy. I see everything from low back pain and disc ruptures, to neck strains, knee and shoulder tendonitis all from improper mechanics doing yardwork. So here are a few tips to keep your body happy while you keep your yard healthy:

Raking Leaves Safely

* Use the right rake: Make sure it’s not too heavy, light or wrongly shaped. Take frequent breaks, and switch sides often.
* Keep raking strokes short :This prevents over-reaching and excessive forward bending.
* Wear slip-resistant shoes: Leaves and grass are slippery when wet and cause a painful fall.
* Warm-up first: It’s like going out to exercise; take a brisk walk for 10 minutes first to get blood pumping.
* Wear gardening gloves: It’ll protect your hands and allow for a good grip.
raking leaves safely* Afterwards, do some back-bending stretches: Stand with your feet hip width, hands over your back pockets and lean backwards 10 times.

If things do hurt after working in the yard, generally, icing for 20 minutes helps. But if pain does persist beyond 24 hours, it’s best to have a chiropractor, physical therapist or other physician who specializes in the musculoskeletal system take a look. Enjoy the season!!