For many, the aches and pains of raking have become a fall tradition. To help turn this chore into a painless gardening experience, the Canadian Physiotherapy Association offers these back-saving tips:
- Start (and finish) with stretches for shoulders, back and legs.
- Use long-handled tools to suit your height.
- If you tend to bend over or reach too far while raking, consider using an ergonomic rake (available at garden centres).It will make the job easier and reduce strain to your back.
- Wear comfortable shoes with sturdy rubber soles to prevent slipping and to give your back better support.
- Keep one hand near the top of the rake for leverage while holding the handle close to your body to help maintain good posture.
- Change sides frequently, and avoid twisting from the waist. Instead of planting your feet side by side, place one foot ahead of the other, which allows you to shift back and forth easily.
- Take breaks when needed.
- Spread heavy lifting and digging tasks over a week rather than a weekend,and spread major projects throughout the seasons. Take time to recover between them.
Find more tips to keep you safe in the garden in our Healthy Gardener section.