Take a little ergonomic zest into your fall cleanup this year. Your body will thank you, as will your yard. The days are growing cooler and shorter. This means summer is on its way out and it’s time to get the yard ready for its annual hibernation. But, raking the leaves, doing the last of the lawn mowing, and putting away the patio furniture all present potential strains on the body.
Fall Cleanup: The Ergonomic WayUsing a rake with good body mechanics is essential to preventing aches and pains. Before even beginning the activity remember to ensure that you are warmed up by moving through a full range of motion for the lower back, legs, and arms and by doing a few jumping jacks, marching in place or by taking a brisk walk beforehand. Once you are warmup, select the right rake for you that has a handle that is long enough to allow you to stand upright while raking, yet is not too long making it difficult to handle. Also, if you are prone to lower back injury, avoid rakes that are too wide as they move more leaves at a time creating more drag and forces acting on your lower back. When raking:
- stand upright with the knees bent and the core engaged;
- reach with the arms, and
- by lunging forward with the legs instead of bending at the back.