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Take the risk out of raking

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons recommends the following tips on its Web site to prevent injury from raking (www.aaos.org):

*Warm up for at least 10 minutes with some stretching and light exercise.

*Use a rake that is comfortable for your height and strength. Wear gloves or use rakes with padded handles to prevent blisters.

*Keep your vision free of impediments, like hats or scarves, and beware of large rocks, low branches, tree stumps or uneven surfaces.

*Vary your movement, alternating your leg and arm positions often. When picking up leaves, bend at the knees, not the waist.

*Wet leaves can be slippery; wear shoes or boots with slip-resistant soles.

*Do not overfill leaf bags, especially if the leaves are wet. To avoid back injury, you should be able to carry bags comfortably.

*Never throw leaves over your shoulder or to the side. The twisting motion required to do so places undue stress on your back.

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