Strength & Gardening

How many of you have gone into the garden full of hopes and dreams, excitement and desire only to come out with a sore back and tight hamstrings? A day in the garden doesn’t have to result in miserable pain when you take a few pre and post gardening steps. 

First, gardening actually requires quite a bit of flexibility and strength. We have to reach and twist and lunge and haul. So don’t ignore the importance of overall strength training.  Regular strength training helps ensure

that we’ll have enough core strength to reach for and pull those weeks while on our hands and knees. This move is actually a complicated move involving multiple muscles, joints, and our balance systems. Many folks would decline doing this move on their living room floor however don’t think twice about it in the garden only to wonder why it seems so difficult. Part of that is the mental component. It’s part of gardening so we don’t think it should be so hard, it’s what we’ve (or watched others) have done and it’s how we complete this task.

Second, don’t underestimate a good pre and post gardening stretch. Doing the activities in the garden may not feel like work to us – we love the smells, feel of the soil, the sense of accomplishment, etc. And … our body has worked out so treat it with a good post garden stretch session. It may even deserve a warm shower and good rub of lotion across those muscles. A regular flexibility program can help here, too. Stretch all the major muscles groups by going to the point of tension and holding. Take 3-5 long deep breaths and slowly release them as you melt into the stretch gently.

Lastly, be mindful. Enjoy the feel of the dirt, the hard work, the wonderful fruits as they excite your tastebuds when you get to eat them or your eyes as you gaze upon the brilliant colors your efforts have given.