A Safer Fall Clean-Up

APMR-RakingWhat better way to enjoy a beautiful fall day—and squeeze in some yard work—than to rake leaves? It’s great exercise, and you can get your kids in on the action.

Still, it pays to take precautions: Last year, more than 38,000 Americans experienced raking-related injuries, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Keep in mind, raking requires more reaching, bending and lifting than most chores. Your back, shoulders and wrists may be at risk—especially if your ab and back muscles are weak.

Fortunately, you can enjoy raking safely. Here are the best ways to prevent injury, according to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons:

• Warm up for at least 10 minutes before you begin. Simply march or jog in place for a few minutes. Or turn on your favorite tunes and dance.

• Use a rake that’s comfortable for your height and strength. If it’s too short, you could strain your back. If it’s too heavy, you might strain your neck and shoulders.

• Wear gloves or use rakes with padded handles to avoid blisters.

• Keep a straight back and turn your entire body while you rake to avoid twisting your back.

• Use short strokes, not long ones, to reduce the risk of overextending your muscles.

• Watch for rocks, branches, tree stumps and uneven surfaces.

• Take frequent breaks and change your posture. Consider switching sides, and alternate your leg and arm positions often.

• When picking up leaves, bend at the knees—not the waist. Bending at the waist will raise your risk for back strain.

• Wear shoes or boots with slip-resistant soles to avoid falls. Be careful when walking on wet, slippery leaves.

• Avoid overfilling your leaf bag—especially if the leaves are wet. Don’t carry a bag that’s too heavy or large.

• Start slowly and pace yourself.

For information on how physical therapy or acupuncture can help relieve raking-related aches and pains, contact us at https://www.advancedpmr.com/get-in-touch.

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