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Keep Your Back Health in Check During Leaf Raking

Authored by Dr. Colin Haines, MD, FACS. November 20, 2020

November has flown by, leaving many of us with unattended piles of leaves in our yard, among many other pre-winter chores. Before you head off for the weekend and rake all those leaves piling up in your yard – consider this your friendly reminder not to forget about back health!

Raking can be deceptively hard work. Depending on the size of your yard and how many trees you have, it can be hours of work and hard on your back. So a few tips…

1) Warm-up your muscles a bit you they are ready to go. Go for a brisk walk, do a few core exercises, and some gentle range of motion exercises for your shoulders and hips. Your back and body will thank you for it later.

2) Prioritize good posture when raking. Keep your legs slightly bent, weight centered between your feet, and back straight. Reach and pull with your arms and not your back. Keep your raking stroke short and controlled to prevent over extending yourself. Avoid twisting by shuffling your steps around and move from your hips in order to get to other areas around you.

3) Exercise proper lifting techniques when loading leaf bags. Bend at the knees and hips, not your back. Get a firm grip on the bag close to your body and engage your core muscles before you perform the lift. Don’t overload the bag with too many leaves or it may be too heavy for you.

With these tips, you are all set to tackle the hardships of leaf raking, and anything else that needs to get done in your yard before winter. Don’t forget to dress warm, take breaks, and hydrate! Even though the weather is cooler, spending extended time in the sun can dehydrate you. If you overdo it this fall, be sure to schedule an appointment with your spine specialist. Don’t go into the holidays with a bad back!

About The Author

Dr. Colin Haines, MD, FACS

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