Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Rake Your Leaves And Lose Some Weight!
The following are some tips on how to rake leaves and lose some weight in the process. Put your leaf blower away and get moving!
Do some exercises first. Yes, I know, it’s only leaf-raking, but muscles that are not used to manual labor take some time to wake up and figure out that you are wanting them to do serious work. If not allowed that wake-up time, your muscles may stage a painful rebellion.
Bend one leg behind you and grab the ankle. Gently pull it toward your back until you feel the stretch in your front upper leg muscles. Keep pulling a little more, but stop before it gets painful. You don’t want your leg muscle to pop like a rubber band….
Hug yourself with one arm by putting it across your chest as far as you can. Repeat with the other arm.
Bend at the waist and touch your toes several time. (Don’t bend your knees, that’s cheating!)
Get yourself the right rake!
There is a head-spinning selection of leaf rakes out there – so which is the correct one for you? Don’t go for the mega-monster rake that will tire you out too quickly. Try for something in the medium size range – as Goldilocks says, not too big, not too small…
Should you get a rake with metal or plastic tines? Plastic is lighter, but metal is more durable and makes it easier to rake larger things such as twigs.
How about the handle? Fiberglass is strong and lasts a long time, but it is heavier than wood. Eventually wood rots or breaks. Then there is metal, which is also durable and not as heavy as fiberglass. I prefer fiberglass, but choose the strongest handle that you can easily use. You don’t want something too heavy.
Now get raking!
But wait – there is actually a technique to leaf-raking. You have warmed up and stretch, using the instructions above, right? The colder it is, the longer you need to warm up and stretch.
Ok, now put on your gloves. This will keep you from getting blisters, and if you chose a wood handle, will ensure that you don’t get splinters in your hands.
Rake while standing up straight. Bending is not good, and bending at the waist while you rake is the worst. If you have to bend, give that job to your knees.
Twisting is a no-no when raking leaves. It’s cold, your muscles are tired, and twisting will only make them madder, so do not twist to throw the leaves away. Pick up the leaves (bend at the knees, remember), turn your entire body and throw the leaves away.
Switch your rake to the other side sometimes to spread the love and avoid overly-stressing one side of your body.
You don't have to do much more than rake the leaves to burn those calories. Walking, raking and bagging will strengthen your muscles and burn calories at the same time. If you're tempted to build up a big leaf fire and make some s'mores to reward yourself, you might want to think twice about that....
If you follow these instructions and rake leaves whenever the wind blows, you should be well on your way to skinny by Christmas. Then you can switch to shoveling snow and be slim and trim by Spring!