Warm-up Exercises Before You Garden
Gardening can be therapeutic and relaxing. Planting, nurturing and harvesting plants and flowers can give us a great sense of pride and satisfaction.
Gardening can also cause injury and pain. You have to prepare your body as if you were getting ready for a work-out at the gym. Having flexible muscles and tendons is the key to avoiding strain and pain while gardening. Without a proper warm-up, muscles and tendons will be tight and stiff. Here are some stretching guidelines:
· Do five to 10 minutes of aerobic activity before you stretch.
· Take the dog for a walk.
· Take yourself for a walk!
Once you have increased your body temperature, you’re ready to stretch. To combat soreness and prevent injury, it is important to stretch the lower back, hamstrings, wrists and shoulders. To see a few stretching exercises, go to our Facebook page – www.facebook.com/thrivesoloco -- and watch the video.
· Hold warm-up stretches for up to 20 seconds
· Move slowly while stretching; never bounce while stretching
· Do not hold your breath; do deep breathing
· Maintain proper posture (stomach in, shoulders and chin back)
Proper Techniques for Gardening
Bending: Involves your back, legs and abs
Good exercise for it: Get down on all fours, with your hands underneath your shoulders and your knees underneath your hips. Tighten your abdominal muscles while simultaneously raising your right arm and straightening your left leg, keeping your back straight. Hold for 6 seconds. Return to the starting position, switch sides and repeat 10 times.
When you’re ready to garden, focus on tightening your leg muscles as you bend forward. Keep your knees slightly bent.
Raking: Involves your arms and shoulders
Good exercise for it: Stand facing a countertop with your hands shoulder-width apart on the counter. Tighten your abdominal muscles and keep your back straight as you bend your arms into a pushup position. Straighten your arms, and repeat 15 times.
When you are ready to rake, use short, quick motions; keep the rake close to your body. Switch sides every 2 to 3 minutes.
Pushing a Wheelbarrow: Involves your hamstrings, chest, quadriceps,
Good exercise for it: Lie on a mat, supporting your upper body with your forearms and your lower body with your knees; your stomach stays raised as you keep your body in a straight line without arching your back. Hold for 15 seconds, working up to 60 seconds.
Ready to roll? Load the wheelbarrow with only as much weight as you can handle without straining. First, use your leg muscles, not your back, to lift the wheelbarrow; next, use your arm muscles to push the load forward.
Squatting: Involves hamstrings, quadriceps, glutes
Good exercise for it: Stand in front of a chair, feet shoulder-width apart, arms in front of you. Bend your knees and slowly squat, gently touching the chair without fully sitting down, then stand up using only your legs. Repeat 10 times.
Then, when you’re ready, keep your torso upright and lower yourself until your bottom almost touches the ground. Try to keep your weight on your heels.
Health and Fitness Quotes:
“At the end of the day, your health is your responsibility.”
--personal trainer Jillian Michaels
“We do not stop exercising because we grow old – we grow old because we stop exercising.”
--Dr. Kenneth Cooper
“Travel Light, Live Light, Spread the Light, Be the Light.”
“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.”
“Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body,
it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity.”
-- President John F. Kennedy
“Inhale the future, exhale the past.”
“To keep the body in good health is a duty ... otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.”