Stretch before you start raking—flex your back, shoulders and rib cage. Lift the rake and leaves with your legs, not your back (bend your knees and don't lean forward). Stretch when you are finished to cool down. Take a warm bath or get a massage to relax muscles.

Important: If you are not physically fit or have history of injury or back pain, don't rake leaves or engage in any other heavy yard work' If you experience muscle spasms, radiating pain, numbness or tingling down the legs or arms after doing yard work, see a doctor. These symptoms may indicate a serious condition.

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