It’s that time of year again, spring gardening!

 

So how do you rake and weed your gardens and lawns without hurting your back? Here are some tips:

 

  1. Warm up before you start working.

One of the best ways to prevent injury with an exercise is to be properly warmed up. Don’t stretch, but DO warm up. This can be going for a brisk 5-10 minute walk first, jogging on the spot for 2 minutes, basically anything to get your blood pumping and your muscles warmed up.

 

  1. Try to minimize forward bending while raking.

Try to stay relatively upright while you rake. This allows you to maintain the proper curvatures in your spine, especially your low back, which are designed to support your spine, and to protect it. When you bend too far forward, you lose these natural curves, and are more likely to injure yourself.  

 

  1. Change what you are doing.

If you vary your activity and change your position often, you are not in one position for too long and thus you will decrease your chance of injury.

 

  1. Face straight on.

When you’re raking, instead of twisting to rake beside you, move your feet and take a small step, so that you’re facing them straight on. Less twisting will put less stress on your low back, and is less likely to cause an injury.

 

  1. Hydrate.

Make sure you’re drinking water before starting, and after you’ve been raking for a while. A dehydrated body and spine is less flexible, and more likely to be injured.

 

  1. Lift with your knees, not your back.

As are doing your spring clean up, unfortunately, the debris does not magically bag themselves! When you’re bending down to pick things up, make sure you’re bending with your knees, to keep your spine as upright as possible. 

 

  1. Take your time.

Pace yourself, it doesn’t all have to be done in one day or one outing. Spread the job out over several days. 

 

  1. Cool down afterwards.

Once you’re done, don’t collapse into a soft couch or soft chair. 

Instead, when you’re done, do a little cool down walk for 5 or 10 minutes. Also, be cautious about bending forwards right away afterwards

 

  1. Recruit someone to help you!