Thursday, May 14, 2009

Gardening Is A Workout - Believe It Or Not!

The weather has finally turned here in the Midwest. The humidity is rising daily and April showers have left glorious May flowers.

Surely, you are beginning to hit the bike trails and the various parks in your area. If you are like most, your weekends now involve a bit of gardening. Nothing sends out the "Spring Has Sprung" vibe quite like freshly planted tulips, or a vibrant new hydrangea bush.

But, pulling out the old and planting the new can be a bigger strain on your bodies than you might think.

In fact, I had a friend tell me yesterday, "I know I only gardened this weekend, but there are parts of my body that are really sore."

That's because we have all been relatively dormant throughout the cold winter months, and now we are going to shock our muscles when we suddenly begin squatting, lifting heavy objects, and using all our strength to dig!

While many see gardening as a leisure activity involving sitting, moving dirt and fluffing mulch, it actually requires muscles we don't regularly use...especially in that particular fashion.

So before you rush out to the garage and grab your worn-in gardening gloves and your plethora of tools, take time to prepare your body.

Start by doing simple stretches. Then, begin with some squats. These are great for engaging your neglected buns, hips and thighs - No, sitting down and getting up from the couch all winter doesn't count as a good workout. Now, take some light weights and work your arms, preparing them for the digging that is about to happen. Do a few sets of bicep curls, as well as tricep dips.

This doesn't have to be an intense workout, you just need to reintroduce your muscles to some rigorous movements. Don't forget to do some stretching as well; this will also help minimize soreness after your gardening day.

Remember not to push yourself. You will be sore the next day, but preparing your muscles through stretching and strength training will have a positive impact on how sore you will be the day after.

Happy Gardening!

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