Rake up your workout!

I love New Jersey during the fall: apples, pumpkins, harvest festivals, football and the colorful, vibrant leaves in rich hues of red, orange and yellow that dress our trees and then fall on the ground...and continue to fall...again and again.

But it suddenly clicked one Sunday morning when my obliques were so sore from a Saturday afternoon of raking our not very large yard.  Raking leaves is not just a laborious task that makes my lawn look really nice. It's a great cardio and core workout too!

According to the Self.com Health Calculator, there is almost a 1:1 ratio of a woman's weight to the number of calories burned in a 1/2 hour (double the result for 1 hour). So, a 140lb woman will burn 143.36 calories in 30 minutes and a 150lb woman will burn 153.6.  Depending on the size of your yard, you could be raking for a few hours!  And the resistance you create with your own body weight and the rake work together to strengthen your core.  Just consider the following tips while you're planning your first raking workout:
  • Dress comfortably and light: while it may be chilly out, you will warm up pretty quickly after a few minutes of consistent raking

  • Think of raking like it's a gym workout and keep water handy

  • For an even core workout, make sure to alternate the side you rake on every few minutes

  • Lunge and squat as you rake from various directions into one pile

  • Make sure to stretch after you rake! Do stretches for your arms, hamstrings, thighs and back.

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