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  • Jocelyn Cohenour

The leaves are upon us...

Updated: Feb 25, 2020

I live in prairie village. I love my neighborhood--I can walk to the grocery store, get coffee, I walk my dog all the time (you've probably seen us, she's a silky terrier who has to pee every 3 feet). There are trees everywhere and naturally there are now leaves everywhere. Leaves leaves and more leaves for days. I can't keep up with them falling and my yard looks like a leaf graveyard of sorts. I also refuse to pay someone to pick them up when I can do it myself, so I am relentlessly using my leaf blower and leaf vacuum. Downside? I save money but it puts my back into a crazy sort of contortion holding my leaf blower on one shoulder and the hose in the other hand. I find myself having to stop every few minutes to stretch. Do you feel that way too? Or maybe it's not you but it's your significant other or your son (btw, can I borrow them to do my yard?).

Here's a handy stretch for you: stand up. Put your hands on the back of your hips. Pull your bellybutton in towards your spine and slowly stretch your body backwards as you gently push your hips forward a few inches. When you are hunched over (leaf blowing or gardening) your back muscles get overstretched and start to get sore. Reversing the motion (backward bending) helps to shorten them back into position, alleviating the pull. Once you're done make sure to stretch again the same way but on the floor--lay face down, hands under your shoulders, abs pulled in, and slowly arch your back up towards the ceiling. Hold this and breathe in and out for about 5 counts, then repeat 3x. Repeat as needed but remember--stay in your safe zone. Pain means you've gone too far. Happy leaf cleaning up!

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