woman clearing leaves with rake in patio area
Photo: Visions Premium/GAP Photos
Piling up fallen leaves can be a pain in the back. "Raking a lawn can take two or three hours, and you repeat the same action over and over again," says Dr. Gladden. Here's how to protect your body from repetitive stress while raking.

Step 1:
Assume the right position. Take a scisscor stance, one foot forward and one behind. Use the rake to pull forward from behind or in from the side. Keep your shoulders relaxed and your back upright; avoid hunching, which strains the upper back, and bending, which taxes the lower back.

Step 2:
Become ambidextrous. Alternate your right and left hands at hte top of the rake handle every 10 minutes.

Step 3:
Lay out a big plastic tarp and rake leaves onto it so that you can just drag them wherever they need to go. If you must bag them, use a receptacle to keep the mouth of the bag open, and tip it on its side to make filling it easier.
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