Fall in Canada is a spectacular season full of colour but it can also mean a lot of work around your home. Raking is necessary before the snow arrives whether we like it or not. On the plus side, raking is a great way to stay active outdoors and have fun this fall! Raking can take a toll on your body if you’re not careful. Many Ontarians sustain injuries this time of year that could easily be prevented with a little know-how. Keep in mind these helpful tips to achieve efficient raking while having fun!
- Avoid the wind (or work with it): Try and pick a day where it is calm outside. A windy day can turn small job into a daunting task with extra and unnecessary work. If the day you can do the job is a windy one, raking into the wind allows the breeze to aid in the task at hand.
- Be patient: Clear walkways and high-traffic areas of leaves on an ongoing basis, but wait to tackle your whole yard until all the leaves are down. It might bother you to sit idly by and let the leaves pile up, but waiting until the branches are bare will save you hours of work. Be patient and get the yard work done when it’s necessary, not every week.
- Pick the right tools for the job: That old rusty metal rake in your shed might look like it still has life in it, but it may be time to upgrade your garden tools. There are many lightweight, ergonomic rakes out there that can save you lots of time and prevent injury. There are also rake alternatives, including push-power leaf collectors that help take some of the physical strain out of raking.
- Warm-up: Before tackling the yard, warm-up for 5-10 minutes to get the joints moving and increase blood circulation. Try marching on the spot, climbing stairs or a quick walk around your property. Follow this with gentle stretches for your back, arms, shoulders and legs. Never bounce jerk or strain when stretching. A warm-up ensures your body is ready for action!
- Rake right: Ease the strain on your back by putting one leg in front, the other behind. Switch legs and hands from time to time.
- Check your position: And change it often. Kneel, and then stand. Don’t forget to take breaks and just sit and relax for a while.
- Bend your knees to lift with ease: Avoid heavy lifting immediately after prolonged bending or kneeling. Get close to the bag of leaves you will be lifting and stand with your feet shoulder width apart, head up. Keep your feet and body pointing in the same direction and keep your back straight.
- Stop raking immediately if you feel back pain: If you have back pain that is severe, or persists for more than a day after gardening see your Chiropractor or visit www.bywardchiropractic.com for more information.
Fall is a beautiful season and an opportunity to get outside and for some family time while tackling much needed chores. Raking has dual benefits. It’s good for the grass and it’s good physical exercise for us. All you need is a rake and keep in mind these helpful tips. Most importantly, don’t forget to have fun!
Dr. Sasha Hamid is a Chiropractor practicing at Byward Chiropractic Clinic. She can be contacted at (613) 860-8600, www.bywardchiropractic.com. More great tips can be found at Byward Chiropractic on Facebook and @BywardChiro on Twitter.