How to Rake Up Leaves Safely

Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn a  mosaic of them all

– Stanley Horowitz

It is that beautiful time of year again! When the trees turn colour, the air is crisp and the ground is littered with orange, yellow and red leaves. By the time the middle of fall comes around, the leaves begin to accumulate and the fallen leaves are no longer magical but become a chore. Raking is a great way to enjoy the outdoors, stay active and improve your endurance and strength. However, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (Stoppler, 2010), if you are not moving properly, raking can lead to strain and injury to the back, shoulders, and wrists.

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Avoid Injuries While Shoveling Snow

Snow shoveling is physically demanding work and can be relentless during the Canadian winter months. During the winter season, snow clearing is a common and necessary part of most people’s daily routine. For instance, on a morning when it snowed over night, you would get up earlier than normal, get yourself and everyone else ready, eat breakfast, pack up a lunch for the kids and then head outside to dig out your car. However, if snow shoveling is done incorrectly, it can lead to slips, falls and muscle strains. Shoveling is so hard on the body because it requires a high-level of simultaneous exertion from the legs, arms and back.

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Avoiding Injuries While Cleaning

Cleaning is never a fun task and is even less so when you are suffering from an injury. There are modifications that you can do to your cleaning routine that can prevent an injury from occurring and reduce the risk for flare-ups of pre-existing injuries. A general guideline to follow is to spread out the house cleaning over a few days. It not only saves you the grief of re-aggravating an injury but it allows you to put all your focus into one room at a time. You will do a much better job of cleaning the area if you’re not rushed. Another general rule is to alternate your tasks. For example, sweep the floor first then do the dishes to give your back a rest and then mop the floor. This method avoids repetitive tasks and gives your muscles a chance to relax.

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