Top 5 Raking Tips
Category: Lawn Care | Wednesday, June 1, 2011
1. First and foremost remember that ‘raking’ is an exercise equal to that of lifting, running, or any form of cardiovascular work. With that it is important to do some form of light ‘warm up’ for approx. 10 minutes to warm up the muscles and body prior to raking. For example a brief walk, while moving your arms in circles will help adequately increase blood flow, and prepare the body for your yard cleaning duties.
2. Minimize the same movement pattern as much as possible. We often are easily trapped into working from our comfortable or dominant side. For some that means raking in only one direction. It is important to work from both sides equally to minimize stress on the low back and shoulders.
3. When the time comes to gather the leaves into yard waste bags, be sure to bend at the knees when picking the leaves up, this again will avoid undo strain to the disc’s and muscles of the lower back. An even better approach is to purchase a leaf blower that also has a ‘mulching option’. This is basically a stand up ‘vacuum’ for leaves taking care of this part of the task. Perhaps a bit more costly initially, but season after season you will be happy with the purchase.
4. Take periodic breaks while raking. Raking leaves is a strenuous activity on our system. It is important to give our bodies periods of rest and hydration as we would do during workouts at the gym. I often recommend to clients a 10 -15 minute break for each of hour of work in the yard.
5. After you are done raking, take 20 minutes to gently stretch the muscles of the hamstrings, low back, shoulders and neck. Also, if you feel a certain body part to be particularly irritated, then apply an ice/gel pack for 15 – 20 minutes. An additional recommendation is to soak for 20 minutes in a hot/warm tub with Epsom salt (2 cups) and baking soda (1 cup) prior to bed. (If you suffer from heart trouble, high blood pressure, or are diabetic then discuss with your PCP prior to this form of bath). Epsom Salts are made of the mineral magnesium sulfate. When magnesium sulfate is absorbed through the skin, during a bath it acts on the body by drawing toxins from the body, sedates the nervous system, reduces swelling in the tissues, and relaxes overworked and tired muscles. If after 2 days you are still feeling soreness in any region of your body (i.e. Low back, neck, shoulders) seek care from your Structural Therapist.