It is raking season again, and we want to minimize your risk of a raking related injury! Raking is typically an activity that we don’t do routinely. As a result, our bodies are not used to it or ‘adapted’ for it. This new, repetitive, prolonged activity is the reason many people injure themselves raking at this time of year. Normally when you take up a new activity, it is recommended that you build up your intensity and duration gradually to allow your Healthy Body to adapt. Raking is usually done over the course of only a few very long days!
To reduce the risk of injuring yourself, make sure you warm up your shoulders, back and legs before you start. Try to work in 20-30 minutes segments and then take a short break. Hold the rake handle close to to your Healthy Body, and use your arms and legs more than your spine. Ergonomic rakes with a bent or side handle are available to reduce the strain on your spine. Change sides regularly so that you aren’t always working the same set of muscles and always twisting in the same direction. Stand with one foot in front of the other so that you can shift your weight forward and back as you rake. Remember not to put too many leaves into one bag. Keep it at a manageable weight. Bend at your knees, keep the bag close to your Healthy Body, gently tighten your stomach muscles to support your back and lift up using your legs. When you are finished for the day take a few minutes to cool down, walk around and stretch.
Post-exercise soreness from performing a new activity typically goes away within a couple of days. If you find you are still sore, please contact our clinic for an assessment and advice.