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When the leaves start to fall, it’s time to get the rakes out! Raking can be a fantastic, meditative activity that allows you to get outside and breathe deeply. There’s nothing as satisfying as pulling the leaves into a pile and laying in it to look at the sky. However, the leaves have to go into some sort of container. The whole process of raking can set you up for some sore days, and we’re not talking blisters or muscles. At the Spine Institute of North America, we see a lot of back injuries either happen or get worse during raking. It’s absolutely essential that you be smart about how you rake. The good news is, we are here to help!

In our last blog, we discussed four important tips for raking safely, including warming up, wearing gloves, choosing a good rake, and considering the use of a leaf blower. Today, we have four essential tips!

Keep tabs on your posture

Look at raking as a form of exercise. That’s how your body experiences it! Proper form is very important for avoiding injury. Why? Because when you force your body into awkward postures and then use your muscles, it causes pain. Now, what does proper posture look like?

  • Knees slightly bent to protect your joints
  • Keep your weight centered
  • Reaching with your arms instead of your back

It’s important to give your body a chance to reset, so take a while to stretch or walk every 20  minutes. Once you’re done raking and it’s time to lift leaves into a bin or bags, give your back a chance by carefully doing a back bend. When you stretch, make sure you don’t push to the point of pain.

Use comfortable shoes

Raking isn’t necessarily a good time to wear your favorite fall boots. We suggest you wear shoes that offer arch support and and skid-resistance. Your back is deeply affected by your footwear, and having good support is key to keeping your back healthy when you spend a lot of time on your feet.

Switch hands often

Raking is a highly repetitive motion, and it will exhaust your muscles. They’ll tell you when they’re ready for a break, so don’t ignore them. You can switch lead hands to shake things up and give your muscles a fresh angle. Doing this is important not only for relief, but to protect your back from getting too tired and being injured.

Stay hydrated

This loops back to raking as a form of exercise. It’s recommended you hydrate before, during, and after workouts, and raking is no different. Your muscles need water to function at their best. Staying hydrated is a great way to make sure your muscles coordinate correctly.

If you treat your back right, it will take care of you. However, if your back is having issues, the experts at the Spine Institute of North America are ready to help. From pain management to minimally invasive spine surgery services, we offer world-class, tailored solutions to back troubles. Learn more today!