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Fall Cleanup: Protect Your Back

With the leaves falling, you know it is time to rake and clean up the yard for winter.

For some, raking is easy. For others, it is a big chore and physically exhausting. Maybe you've strained your back in the past and now are nervous it will happen again each time you rake.

If you are someone who relates to the latter, here is a solution for you.

Tips to protect your back while raking:

  1. Hold the handle close to your body to maintain a more upright posture

  2. Place one hand at the top of the rake and the other low enough so that your elbow is bent ~30 -50 degrees for better leverage

  3. Rake side to side, making short strokes, while keeping the back flat

  4. Utilize the legs to weight shift and pivot instead of twisting your back while keeping your feet fixed on the ground

  5. Change hands and switch sides you rake to to distribute the load and forces

  6. Pace yourself and take rest breaks


  1. Don't over stuff the bags. Remember you'll need to carry these to the front yard afterwards. You can also use a wheelbarrow or handcart to move them if available

  2. Lift the bags using your legs. Keeping your back flat, squat down to pick up the bag and drive up using your legs

By following these steps you can prevent injury or strain to your back. Working out regularly will also improve your resilience when performing yard tasks.

Once your yard is nice and clean, remember to stretch afterwards and drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated.


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