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7 Tips To ‘back ache-free” Leaf Raking

Tips from Jenny the osteopath to prevent aches and pains during raking this autumn

I LOVE AUTUMN!

The countryside is looking beautiful with the ever changing colours, my house smells of delicious wood for the log burner, it is socially acceptable to drink alcohol hot, I get to don my large collection of scarves and headbands and the annual walking holiday in the Lake District is just around the corner. YES I love autumn!

However amidst all this loveliness come the leaves which fall off the trees faster than we can rake them up!

If your weekend plans are going to involve a few hours in the garden with a rake in hand, here are a few tips to help to avoid any aches and pains that may follow:

  1. THINK POSTURE Don’t slump or hunch over your rake, consciously stand up straight after ever few rakes
  2. SWITCH IT UP Like most gardening injuries, it is the repetitive nature of raking that can lead increased strain on one side of body (shoulders and arms and back muscles). So switch hands and positions.
  3. AVOID LIFTING Especially if the leaves are damp. Use a tarp to rake your pile onto and drag them to the compost bin/heap.
  4. USE THE WIND Rake down wind, if your leaves are light they will only need a nudge in right direction
  5. TEA BREAKS Take your time, it is after all the weekend and regular breaks with a cup of tea or glass of water will prevent injury during the bursts of high intensity activity
  6. USE PLASTIC The small difference in weight between a metal and plastic rake will make a big difference to the amount of effort needed to shift those leaves
  7. WEAR GLOVES No one likes blisters
  8. STRETCH Leave raking is a form of physical exercise so stretch like you would before and after a run or game of golf.

If you are already suffering with aches and pains you can always hire someone to come and tidy your garden for you – I can highly recommend Jamie Parton of Jamie’s Gardens http://www.jamiesgardens.co.uk