Get Your Family Moving: Rake Leaves!

Autumn is a beautiful season with the changing of the leaves, but it also brings about some hefty yard work in removing them. Raking leaves is actually very hard work and good physical exercise at the same time. Your equipment needs are simple: your body and a rake.  Raking burns about 300 calories an hour while toning your arms and strengthening your back and legs.  Just be sure to stretch first and, to avoid muscle pulls, don’t try to do the whole yard at once.

Regular exercise no matter what type can boost energy, build strength & stamina, improve balance and even help to reduce some signs of aging.

Tips for Safe Raking

Do a pre-rake warm-up. It may not seem like a workout, but you can burn nearly 300 calories during an hour of raking!

  • Walk around a bit before you start so your blood gets flowing.
  • Do a couple of stretches to prevent straining the muscles of your shoulders, neck, and back.
  • Side bends and knee-to-chest lifts help open you up and ready you for all of the raking, bending, and lifting you’ll be doing.

Practice proper raking posture.

  • To keep your neck and back happy, stand upright and rake leaves to the side of you, alternating your dominant hand now and then.
  • Bend at the knees – not the waist – when picking up piles of gathered leaves.
  • Keep the rake mostly perpendicular to the ground (i.e. between 65 to 85 ) That will give your body easy leverage on the rake, making it easy to   move, and easy on your body.
  • Avoid twisting to toss leaves. Instead, step to the side so your whole body switches position, not just your shoulders and back.
  • Switch sides now and then and take breaks, especially if you haven’t raked since last fall.
  • Take it easy on your back. Move your whole body and not just your spine.

Take rake breaks. The repetitiveness of raking can become painful after a while.

  • Only rake small sections at a time as this will save energy. Take breaks when you get tired every 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Sip on water to stay hydrated.
  • Stretch to release tension you may have built up.

Using the proper techniques is essential. If part of your body is sore, it is probably telling you that you have overdone it or you are using the wrong technique. Rake so it’s natural and comfortable with the power of your movements coming from your legs.

So, get your family or even some of your friends involved and get your bodies moving. Also, don’t forget to look out for your pets or small children who may jump into your pile of leaves!

Meet Mitch Parsons

Tx:Team turns 40 in 2023!

Founded in 1983, Tx:Team will celebrate a big anniversary in May, 40 years in business. Because it is such a major milestone, we felt we should celebrate this achievement throughout the year.

Thank you to all Tx:Team associates throughout the decades for his or her part in our success.

Meet Mitch Parsons, Manager of Employer Based Clinics, and hear his story of his time with Tx:Team!

Static Vs. Dynamic Stretching

When I was initially tasked to write about stretching, I got excited because as a former athlete and now physical therapist for more than 16 years, I thought I understood the evidence and rationale to easily address this topic. However, like the evidence-informed therapist that I am, I decided to first perform a literature search in order to check my preconceptions. This would prove to be pivotal in how I decided to tackle the subject matter.

What is Static Stretching?

Static stretching is when you take a body part to a point where a “stretch,” or pulling sensation, is felt and hold that position for a length of time, generally less than 60 seconds in duration (position based). ​An Example of a static stretch for the arm would be a cross body stretch – holding the arm directly across the chest.

What is Dynamic Stretching?

Dynamic Stretching can be classified as a large/gross movement pattern that involves multiple joints and muscles groups moving in and out of various ranges of motion (movement based). An example of a dynamic stretch on the arm would be performing arm circles – moving the arms forward and/or backwards in various degrees of motion.

What are the Benefits of Stretching?

For years it was thought that static stretching prior to activity would help decrease injury, prepare the body for activity, improve range of motion (ROM), and even enhance performance. However, does stretching do any of these things?

  1. Reduce Injury: Most of the recent data suggests that static stretching alone is inefficient at reducing the likelihood of sustaining an injury with a sporting activity. In fact, depending on the sport, in an article recently reviewed pertaining to golf, adding static stretching seemed to increase in the likelihood of injury. However, if static stretching is incorporated into a comprehensive warm-up program, it may actually help reduce musculotendinous injury in sports that require sprinting/making sharp cuts, i.e., soccer, football, basketball, etc.
  2. Prepare Body for Activity: The idea of a “warm-up” is to increase blood flow to the muscles that we intend to use for the given activity we are about to perform as well as increase the body’s core body temperature prior to competition. Static stretching alone does not satisfy these goals, which is why many professionals would recommend dynamic stretching.
  3. Improve ROM: It has been shown that static stretching does increase ROM of the hip and knee with hamstring stretching, but there are very few research studies that have shown the same amount of change in other body areas. To observe these changes in ROM, the static stretch needs to be done consistently for no more than 45 seconds at a time for no fewer than three reps for a minimum of eight weeks.
  4. Enhance Performance: Initially, I was confident that there was indeed research that supports the notion that static stretching had been shown to reduce strength, power, and muscle performance. While that is not entirely false, the evidence is not as consistent as I had once thought. a 2013 Systematic Review of 104 studies concluded that there was a decrease in strength, power, and explosive performance (to varying degrees). However, when looking at how they did the analysis the individual study designs and the tests they used to measure strength, power, and explosive performance varied greatly, which makes it much more difficult to make blanket statements with regards to performance deficits that may exist after static stretching.

What is the Goal or Purpose of Stretching?

If your goal is to gain range of motion in a specific muscle group or joint, keep the stretch to less than 45 seconds. Dynamic stretching is preferred as it is more efficient and better prepared the body for an activity or sport.

If you want to warm up before an activity, work, or to help reduce injury, consider a Comprehensive Warm-Up (CWU). A CWU should include light aerobic activity (walking, jogging, cycling, jumping rope/jacks, etc. in which you can still speak comfortably), dynamic stretching, and a sport/activity/job specific tasks. For a sport or activity that requires sprinting/quick changes in direction, adding static stretching of less than 45 seconds in a given position may help reduce musculotendinous injury.


Josh Anderson, PT, DPT has over 15 years of diverse experience in both the on-site and outpatient settings treating patients by providing Injury Prevention Services and Early Intervention Screens, as well as utilizing a variety of Physical Therapy techniques to get patients back to work as quickly as possible. His professional interests include Balance and Vestibular Orthopedics, Sports Physical Therapy, and Manual Therapy. Josh is certified in Sports PT through Evidence in Motion, Selective Functional Movement Assessment (SFMA), and Rocktape Level 1. He is also a Certified Clinical Instructor via the APTA.



1. K Small, et al. A Systematic Review into the Efficacy of Static Stretching as Part of a Warm-up for the Prevention of Exercise Related Injury. Research in Sports Medicine, 16:213-23, 2008
2. A Ehlert and PB Wilson. A Systematic Review of Golf Warm-ups: Behaviors, Injury and Performance. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 33(12): 3444-3462, 2019
3. DG Behm, A Chaouachi. A Review of the Acute Effects of Static and Dynamic Stretching on Performance. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 111: 2633-2651, 2011
4. DM Medeiros, et al. Influence of Static Stretching on Hamstring Flexibility in Health Young Adults: Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Physiotherapy Theory and Practice, 32(6): 438-445, 2016
5. DG Behm, et al. Mechanisms Underlying Performance Impairments Following Prolonged Static Stretching Without a Comprehensive Warm Up. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 121: 67-84, 2021
6. L Simic, et al. Does Stretching Improve Performance: A Systematic and Critical Review of the Literature.Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports, 23(2): 131-148, April 2013
7. Yamagichi, et al. Effects of Static Stretching for 30 seconds and Dynamic Stretching on Leg Extension Power. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 19(3): 677-683, Aug 2005
8. DG Behm, et al. Effect of Acute Static Stretching on Force, Balance, Reaction Time and Movement Time. Med Sci Sports Exercise, 36(8): 1397-1402, 2004
9. AD Kay, AJ Blazevich. The Effect of Acute Static Stretch on Maximal Muscle Performance: A Systematic Review. Medicine & Science in Sport and Exercise, 44(1):154-164, 2012
10. I Shrier. Does Stretching Improve Performance: A Systematic and Critical Review of the Literature.Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine, 14(1): 267-273, 2004
11. DG Behm, A Chaouachi. A Review of the Acute Effects of Static and Dynamic Stretching on Performance. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 111: 2633-2651, 2011
12. H Chaabene, et al. Acute Effects of Static Stretching on Muscle Strength and Power: An Attempt to Clarify Previous Caveats. Frontiers in Physiology, 10 (1468): 1-10, 2019

Can the Value of Physical Therapy Be Measured?

October is Physical Therapy month, and the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) has deemed the theme for 2024, “The Value of Physical Therapy.”

Value: noun – (val-ue) relative worth, utility or importance; consider (someone or something) to be important or beneficial.

Can the value of physical therapy really be measured?

We have tools to measure our patients’ outcomes, but can we measure the actual value of services?  Physical therapy provides a variety of benefits, including reduced pain, improved function, increased range of motion, proper alignment and more.

Physical therapists are experts at movement who are trained to optimize function, improve motion, and ultimately, live better!  They will assess your condition and help you regain maximum functional mobility and independence. Physical therapists will also  use a variety of treatment modalities and techniques to help you move better and feel better.  Treatment is highly individualized, cutting edge, and research-based to return patients to their optimum functional level and live life to its fullest.

Again, we ask, can the value of physical therapy be measured?

The answer to that question would depend on each individual patient.

  • How valuable is it to be able to walk across the room pain free?
  • What does is it worth to be able to play with your grandchildren in the backyard? Or go on a walk with them?
  • Does your pain or inability to function at your best hold you back from taking that dream vacation?
  • Does your desk set-up at work cause you to go home at the end of the day with headaches?
  • Are there any extra-curricular activities that you are passing up because your back, neck, or another body part is holding you back?
  • How much do you value a pain free life to participate in any activities you enjoy?

Physical therapists treat people across the entire lifespan. Many therapists have certifications or specializations to treat a certain population, like children, the elderly, or athletes. Regardless of age or population, if you have a condition that is keeping you from the activities in your life, a physical therapy evaluation may be warranted to offer treatment and a strategy to improve function.

The benefits of physical therapy include:

  • Prevention of the onset and/or slow progression of conditions resulting from injury, disease, and other causes
  • Pain management with reduced need for opioids
  • Avoidance of surgery
  • Improvement in mobility and movement
  • Recovery from injury or trauma
  • Recovery from stroke or paralysis
  • Fall prevention
  • Improvement in balance
  • Management of age-related medical problems

From the APTA:

“A recent study also examined the overall value of choosing physical therapy over other options. Researchers calculated the economic impact of choosing physical therapy for the following eight conditions, representing a broad spectrum of physical therapist treatment: Cancer Rehabilitation, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Falls Prevention, Stress Urinary Incontinence, Osteoarthritis of the Knee, Low Back Pain, Tennis Elbow, and Claudication (leg pain when walking due to restricted blood flow).  They found that physical therapy is effective and saves on all the hidden costs of your time, pain, missed life events, and the dollars paid for services.

Find a physical pherapist

If you have an injury or illness that results in pain, physical impairment, limited movement, or a loss of function, a physical therapist can help.  Some patients are referred to physical therapy from his or her physician, and others seek therapy directly. Find out how valuable physical therapy can be to you.