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Tips for Raking Leaves or Shovelling Snow

ShovelingIt’s that time of year again! The days are getting shorter, the temperature is dropping, and the leaves are changing colour. Fall is starting up, and winter is just around the corner. As the leaves change, there will be lots to rake in the up and coming weeks!
Although raking may be tedious (especially if you are the only eager one on your street!), it can be a great source of exercise! The crisp outdoor air, in combination with active movement, is a great way to burn off some calories before the holiday season is among us. The same goes for shoveling snow as well! However, due to the positions required and its repetitive nature, there is the chance of injury if you are unaware of your postural positioning and/or don’t listen to the signs that your body is tiring.

Here are some tips when raking or shoveling for the up and coming months: 
1. Try to avoid excessive bending at the low back and over-reaching with the rake; instead, stand upright and keep your raking/shoveling radius relatively small.
2. When picking up leaves or snow, bend with your knees and lift with your legs. Do not lift with your back!
3. Keep your elbows tucked into your sides ⇒ this is much easier to keep the load closer to your body.
4. If you need to turn, move your legs, do not twist with your body/back!
5. Change your hand positioning frequently, as this will help prevent injury and increase your stamina.
6. Take small loads (especially with snow) to make sure you are not lifting too much at one time
7. Take frequent rest breaks, and don’t be afraid to ask for help!

Try out these tips when raking or shoveling, to help reduce the risk of any low back or upper body injuries!

- Brandon Broijer PT

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