How to Exercise Your Way Through Gardening
We are all procrastinators as far as exercising is concerned but if we take a different approach to how we can exercise while doing something we love, why not give in with abandon?
Walking: mow the lawn and count your steps. You will be surprised at how many steps you take while you are mowing the lawn. Whether you have a front and a back yard, pushing the lawnmower will make you walk without knowing that you are and will keep you moving until the job is accomplished. A big difference between the boringness of a treadmill and the actual mowing of your lawn.
Squats: sometimes these can be painful when attempted during exercise; but how many times do we, unknowingly, squat to pick up leaves, debris or weeds in the middle of our yard. By the time you finish mowing your lawn, you will have probably squatted about fifty times without knowing you had used your legs to make your body squat.
Kneeling: Most gardeners will either squat or kneel to plant, weed, clean, reach. Kneeling is a good posture to avoid putting pressure on the back and the knees take on the weight. Kneeling is great for the calves which restrain the lower body while the upper body does the bending.
Reaching: how often do we have to reach for a weed, a plant, a branch? Whether we are just planting or cleaning, the arms, hands and fingers do most of the work by reaching to accommodate the many varieties of gardening, thereby being stretched over and over again.
Step-on-Step: for those gardeners who edge their lawns, the small steps that each foot has to take to accommodate the precision of edging is again moving the feet, calves, lower heels; by taking small steps, we are exercising the entire foot but also the legs.
Crunches: if we were asked to do crunches at the gym or on our floor at home, we would frown at having to bend our middle muscles. However, when gardening, crunching our stomachs is a natural as it occurs hundreds of times between all the bending, reaching, and squatting that we do without even paying attention to it.
Twisting: many of us put the pots and plants that we are planting to our right or left, dig a hole, put top soil, etc., before reaching for the plants; if you have a tray of flowers that contains 18 plants, you have to twist your body a minimum of 36 times when you are twisting to reach the flower and twisting again to put the plant in the ground.
Lifting: If we have to lift a heavy suitcase or turn our mattress upside down, we call that heavy lifting; but a 20 or 40 lbs bag of dirt or top soil is easy. Lifting the wheel barrows, the plants, dirt, mulch bags, etc., makes our legs sturdier and our arms stronger.
It’s all a question of perspective. While we love to garden, we have now added the point of view that gardening is good for our health as it ensures that we are exercising while having fun and enjoying the exercise like never before.
By Colette Jaccard