Raking and Shoveling

As the seasons change lots of us are probably finding ourselves in the yard with a need to do some raking and possibly, close to follow, some shoveling. I know you don’t even want to go there, but I think the actual shift of seasons has happened. To stay healthy and safe enjoying the upcoming seasons it’s best to use proper mechanics when both raking & shoveling. Here are some tips to follow:

• Bend you knees to lift any load heavy or light.
• Avoid bending and twisting together at your low back.
• Keep your reach as short as possible by moving your feet closer to leaves or snow you are moving, this will keep more upright & alleviate stress on your back from otherwise repeated bending.
• Drag loads vs. lifting whenever possible: this can be done by raking leaves onto a tarp (then pull to the curb for roadside pick up or if you live in a rural area dump deeper into the woods) vs. lifting lots of little loads into a garbage can.
• Ask for help if the load gets too heavy to move easily.
• Wear gloves to protect your hands from blisters and unexpected sharp sticks, biting insects and undisclosed objects.
• Alternate the side you rake or shovel on to spread out the work load among more muscles which will help prevent soreness later the same & next day.
• Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water or other non-alcoholic & non-caffeinated fluids. Even though it’s cool out you are using energy and your muscles need fluid to prevent cramping.
• Stretch out your arms, upper and lower back & legs after you have finished for the day (check out our website for images www.active-pt.com)
• Take a hot shower and relax

If you do find yourself having pain that goes beyond muscle soreness or you find you are having a hard time to straighten up in your spine after any of the above work, please let us know, so we can help get you moving well again. It is never a good idea to put back pain off. Back pain typically is worse with each episode, so learning how to avoid and manage it is essential to feeling good.

For more on staying healthy join us on Tuesday November 8, 2011 from 7-8 for a seminar on nutrition and healing. Light snacks & drinks will be served.

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