Fall leaves are pretty but they can be a pain to clean up. Which means many Doylestown area residents will spend time raking leaves this weekend (and over the next few weeks.)
Fall yard work like leaf raking is great exercise and it’s nice to enjoy the crisp air of the season, yet, it can also lead to back pain and injury. After all, raking uses different muscles than you’re probably used to using. Worse, thousands of people wrench their back doing every fall because of yard work.
4 Ways You Can Protect Your Back While Raking Leaves
In Bucks County, like much of the country, leaf raking is a seasonal chore that can leave you sore and achy. Worse, it can cause back pain and injury if you aren’t careful.
In fact, according to Penn Medicine, approximately 76,000 Americans are hurt every year from leaf raking and other yard work. As you probably know, it only takes one misstep to hurt yourself and weekend yard work warriors are most at risk.
Here’s how you can protect yourself.
1- Warm up and Cool Down – Simple stretches may not seem like they do a lot but they are useful.
Side stretches, trunk rotations, and bending to the ground to touch your toes (or your version of touching your toes – it’s ok if you don’t get all the way down) will help prepare your muscles.
2- Batch It – It’s better for your body if you do a little a time rather than do it all at once.
If you can get out a few times a week and rake the leaves in 20-30-minute intervals you’re doing your body good and less likely to overexert yourself. If you do choose to do marathon sessions, take breaks and you feel short of breath or a tightness in your chest, take a rest and let your heart rate slow down.
3-Use Good Form – Use your whole body and not just your upper body while raking. This will reduce the pain in your shoulders, neck, and back.
Also, rake towards you rather than away from you as that helps protect your back muscles. Remember to bend your knees when you pick up things and finally, don’t overfill leaf bags until they’re so heavy you can hardly move them.
4- Wear Supportive Shoes – You’ve heard it before but it’s true, supportive footwear can help you maintain your balance and give your back support. Hiking boots or good sneakers will help keep your feet stable — less chance for a slip and fall!
With a little preparation, raking leaves and other yard work can be a great chance for some fresh air and a dose of healthy (and injury-free) exercise. Then you can feel great, have a leaf-free yard and still be able to enjoy the fall activities in Bucks County!
However, if you do hurt yourself, you know where to find us!