20 Exercises and Fitness Tips for the Fit Gardener Part #4

Unlike the previous posts, I’m now going to introduce some fitness plans a gardener should have. These will help you maintain and improve your overall level of fitness, not just for gardening.

Final 5 Tips

16. Yoga can be the Gardener’s Best Exercise Choice

Yoga is the ultimate type of exercise that you can engage in to keep your body fit and flexible for gardening chores. Deep breathing yoga will help you learn to breathe properly, especially when you engage in Aerobic gardening. Breathing slowly and deeply, through your nose and out through your mouth can keep you from getting tired too quickly and easily when performing gardening chores. Some of the best yoga gardening exercises are listed below:

  • Shoulders, back and chest. Standing with knees barely bent and feet together, bend forward, arms behind back and lace fingers together. Distribute your weight between the feet and relax your shoulders, neck and head. Lift your arms over your head, lining up with shoulders and take a deep breath.
  • Cat Pose for shoulders, chest and back. On hands and knees, put your hands apart, shoulder distance, and your knees hip-distance apart. Tighten ab muscles, pulling your navel into the spine while rounding your back. Relax your head and neck as you lower your back and exhale.
  • Supine twist for back. Lying on back with knees bent, arms stretched out (palms up), lower knees to right, keeping shoulders on floor. Turn your head opposite of your knees and inhale. Return to center and repeat on opposite side, exhaling as you lower the knees.

Whether you garden or not, you can never go wrong with using Yoga exercises to keep fit and flexible. They’re great exercises if you don’t have lots of room to exercise in or if you’re getting older and your joints and muscles don’t work as well as they used to.

17. Long Reaches for Pulling Those Pesky Weeds

If your body isn’t prepared, reaching long distances can wreak havoc on your arms and upper body – and possibly cause back problems. There are things to remember when you reach for things in the garden which will prevent aches and pains the next morning. Here are a few things to remember:

  • Shoulder stretch. Place the hand on the side you want to stretch on the opposite shoulder, pointing elbow away from body. Raise elbow to shoulder height and with other hand, push elbow to other shoulder without turning your head.
  • Oblique reach. Sitting with knees bent, feet flat on floor, straighten right led and roll your spine forward into a curve. Put left hand behind your head and extend your right arm. Now, turn body left, roll back some more and hold that position for a count. Roll back to starting position and repeat.
  • Stretch and reach. Place object (like a ball) on the floor about 2 or 3 feet in front of you and to the left of your left foot. Balance yourself on the left foot while raising your right foot from the floor. Bend (slowly) your left knee and lower yourself. Reach forward with the right hand and touch the ball. Return to beginning position and repeat with other side.

Soon, you’ll be able to reach as much as you need to perform the many chores in the garden which require a long reach. Long-handled tools also help.

18. Vary Your Gardening Chores.

Don’t spend all your time on one particular task when gardening. That’s a sure way to initiate sore muscles and other aches and pains. You’ll want to include some stretching, cardio workout and strength to get a full body workout rather than putting the strain on one set of muscles or one area of the body.

Here are some tips to getting a full body workout while varying the necessary chores in your garden:

  • Pace yourself. After pre-gardening warm-ups, do the more difficult gardening chores first. Mowing grass or hauling materials should be done before you become fatigued from other, less strenuous gardening chores.
  • Keep your back straight. Rather than hunching down when you weed, bend at the waist and try not to reach too far to throw yourself off balance. Long handled tools are especially handy for weeding tasks.
  • Avoid twisting. Rather than being tempted to twist and strain your back, kneel on both knees at the same time and using a knee pad can also help reduce strain.
  • Relax your knees. When standing to perform gardening chores, use the long-handled tools and slightly bend your knees so they’re relaxed. If you need to pivot, step your entire body into the twist.
  • Bend from knees. When lifting heavy materials, always bend from the knees rather than the waist and keep your back straight. Remember to use the thigh muscles for lifting and place your feet close to the material you’re lifting.

An ounce of prevention goes a long way when gardening. Practice the proper stances and posture before you even go into the garden and you should prevent the soreness and aches so many gardeners suffer from when they don’t properly prepare.

19. Importance of Choosing Proper Tools for a Gardening Task

Gardening tools have changed over the years as gardening has grown in popularity. There are specialized tools for almost every gardening task and each season brings a new variety of the latest and greatest versions. Just make sure you have the standard list covered and you’ll have a great time gardening. Here are some things to remember when choosing garden tools:

  • Be sure to choose the right tool for the job. If you need a shovel or spade, a rake won’t do the job.
  • How does it feel in your hand? Gardening tools come in so many different sizes and shapes that you must be careful and test how it feels in your own hand before purchasing.
  • Imagine how it will feel. Before you buy, spend some time holding the tool and imagine how it will feel after working with it for long periods of time. You don’t want them to wear you out or make you sore too quickly.

Remember that you can cover a large area more quickly if you’re using a larger garden tool. But, take into consideration your own size and limitations. A larger tool may be too difficult to handle and cause you to quit before you’re ready or suffer from soreness the next day.

20. Dressing for Gardening Chores

Appropriate attire while gardening is essential to keep from getting too much sun, ensuring proper hydration and keeping cool in the hot summer months. A good gardener’s wardrobe should include a hat with a brim to keep the sun out of the eyes, a good pair of UV protection sunglasses, long sleeved work shirt, proper footwear and gloves.

Also, you should always use sunscreen for protection. A broad spectrum (at least 30) is best. And, keep putting more on as moisture from sweat wears it off.

There are many extras you can purchase to make the gardening experience easier. Gardening aprons which can hold small tools and seed packets can be worn so everything you need is within easy reach.

If you prefer a tote for tools, there are many sizes, colors and types also available. All you have to do is look online or in your nearest gardening or home improvement store to find everything you need – plus tools and other garden essentials.

When choosing clothing to wear in the garden, you’ll want to avoid clothes which can’t be washed or cleaned easily. You’ll likely be getting grass stains and other spots on whatever you’re wearing, so be sure it can be cared for easily.

Wrap-up

If you prepare your body for the rigours of gardening by engaging in the tips listed above, you’ll be ready when the spring and summer months arrive without risking such sore muscles and joints. Gardening is an activity which can be enjoyed by all ages. It’s one thing you can create yourself – without spending lots of money or time.