It’s that time of year again! Fall has definitely arrived and it seems like winter is close behind. That means getting outside and raking leaves. This activity provides an excellent aerobic workout this time of year. You should always check with your doctor before starting new aerobic activities that place high stress on your heart. If you have a medical condition or do not exercise regularly, you should find someone to assist you with raking and snow removal.

General Safety Tips:

  • Warm up your muscles and cardiovascular system before activity by performing pictured (below) exercises and/or a short walk.
  • Use proper equipment according to your height. You should be able to have your hands 18-24” apart and the handle should be about chin height. A rake or shovel with too short of a handle will require excessive forward bending and too long of a handle will decrease your leverage.
  • Switch sides with your lead foot & hand to equalize stresses to each side of the body.
  • Pace yourself by taking regular rest breaks and replenish fluids to avoid dehydration.
  • Dress appropriately in layers to stay warm. This gives you the ability to remove layers as you warm-up. Use gloves to keeps hands warm and prevent blisters.

Tips for Raking Leaves:

  • Keep rake handle close to body to promote upright posture through the back and neck, while engaging your core.
  • Place one foot in front of the other with slight bend at knees, so you shift weight back and forth between feet as you rake.
  • Minimize trunk twisting by using pulling motion from the shoulders and weight shifting at the legs.
  • Avoid overfilling bags to limit the load on your back and arms as you carry bags.