Raking Safety Tips

fall leaves
1. What to wear. It may initially be cool when heading outdoors so wear layers. Once your body warms up from the yardwork, be careful not to overheat and remove some layers!

2. Warm up. Before any physical activity, it is good to warm up your muscles before you work them. Raking uses a lot of muscles such as in your arms, chest, shoulders, legs, and upper and lower back. Try walking in place or around the yard, and then do some gentle stretches that target the whole body.

3. Proper movements. Watch your raking posture. Try a wide base with your feet while holding the rake handle close to the top and about mid-way down. Do not twist your spine and keep your feet in the direction of the rake. Keep your back as upright as possible and try not to reach out to far with the rake.

4. Stay balanced and Switch sides. People tend to have a favorite side to rake on. Try to switch sides to avoid overuse injury by using the same muscles over and over.

5. Environmental Caution. Be careful of holes in the ground, uneven surfaces or objects you can trip and fall on, such as rocks, branches and roots especially when the lawn is covered with leaves.

6. Footwear. Select and wear shoes with good traction and proper support to avoid injury from slipping and falling.

7. Good time to rake. Dry leaves are easier to rake. When leaves are wet, they are heavier and more slippery.

8. Bagging Clean-up. Protect your back against possible injury. Avoid awkward bending and twisting. Don’t lift bags with your back, use proper mechanics and bend at your knees and lift using your leg muscles. Keep the bags/tarp light- drag or use a wheelbarrow for transport and ask for help!

9. Go easy. Raking is good exercise but it is hard work. Take your time and pace yourself, especailly if you don’t normally do yard work or regular exercise. Make realistic goals and don’t try to rake the whole yard at once. Make a goal to rake for 10 or 20 minutes, then take a break and get some water. The breaks give you and your muscles time to relax!

10. Cool down. When you’re done raking, rehydrate with more water water and do some gentle stretching while admiring a job well done!
Raking Leaves

References:
http://www.richlandhills.com/departments/fire-department/fire-safety-tips/fire-safety-tips (photo)
http://hddfhm.com/clip-art/leaves-clipart.html (leaf clipart)
http://www.aarp.org/health/fitness/info-02-2009/raking_leaves.html