Back In Action
Stretching Before Raking Fall Leaves
Updated: Nov 16, 2017
It's important to stretch before you rake the leaves from your yard. Take just a couple minutes to stretch and protect your muscles.
Autumn is a wonderful season of the year, but raking the fall leaves can be a chore that leaves you sore. Pick a day when the leaves aren’t too damp, because damp leaves are much heavier than dry ones. However, don’t grab your rake just yet.
First take a few minutes to do some stretching and warming up to protect your back and shoulders. Here are some basic stretches that you can use before raking.
Reach to the sky. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and raise your hands high. You want to be able to feel your muscles stretch slightly. Take some deep breaths. Now bend to the right side and stretch. Then slowly straighten and again raise your hands to the sky. Next bend to the left side and stretch.
Now it’s time to warm up your shoulders by doing arm circles. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and extend your arms out to the side. Your arms should be shoulder height and parallel to the ground without bending the elbows. Your palms should be facing down. Begin to rotate your arms in a circular pattern, 6 – 12 inches in diameter. Continue to breathe as you do several repetitions. Then begin to rotate your arms in the opposite direction.
Bring your arms down to your sides. Then bend forward at the waist as you let your arms hang forward. Let your fingers stretch downward to touch your toes. If you can’t touch your toes, don’t force yourself. Just let your fingers reach toward the ground until you feel your back and hamstrings gently working. Take some deep breaths as you maintain this position for several moments. Then return to a standing position.
Place your hands on your waist and rotate first to the right. Stretch gently and hold that position for a few moments. Then rotate to do the same thing on the left.
You can always stretch a bit more to incorporate other muscles. But if you’ve done the above listed stretches, at least you’ve begun to warm up some of your major muscle groups. This can reduce the chance of injury while bending, lifting, and participating in repeated motions.
Doing some basic stretches after you’ve completed your leaf raking project is often also a good idea, especially if you’re concerned that you’ve overworked your muscles.