How to - The Healthy Gardener

How to safely lift, rake and dig

Anna Griffith
Photography by
Stacey Van Berkel

Follow these fitness-certified techniques to save you from aches and pains while you garden


How to rake
Raking is a great form of cardiovascular exercise (and saves hours on the treadmill) if done vigorously. Aside from boosting your heart rate, raking also benefits your posture muscles—core, middle back, backs of the arms and shoulders.

How to do it safely
1. Grip the rake with one hand holding midway (your palm facing the ground), and the other hand holding the top (your palm facing the sky).

2. Pull your arms and elbows close to your sides and squeeze your shoulder blades together as you bring the rake toward you. You should feel all the muscles of your back tighten. Keeping your elbows close to your body works the backs of your arms and shoulders. 

3. Raking is easier if you stand straight and keep your stomach tight. To take pressure off your lower back, think of pushing your hip bones forward, or slightly tucking in your tailbone.

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