Health Tip: Rake Leaves Safely

Here's how to avoid injury

(HealthDay News) -- Raking leaves can be strenuous. To prevent injury, overexertion or strained muscles, follow these basic precautions, courtesy of the American Association of Retired Persons:

  • Warm up before you start raking, and stretch your muscles to avoid a strain or pull.
  • Don't rake leaves when they're wet, as you may be more likely to slip and fall. Wet leaves are also heavier, so it's easier on your back and arms to rake them when they're dry.
  • Wear sturdy shoes with traction to prevent slipping, and watch out for holes in the ground while you're raking.
  • Rake both right-handed and left-handed. By switching sides, you're distributing the work more evenly and are less likely to overexert your muscles.
  • Take breaks every 15 to 20 minutes, especially if you don't exercise regularly.
  • Don't overfill bags of leaves, and don't try to lift anything that's too heavy. If you do lift, lift from your knees rather than your back.
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