An ounce of PREVENTION is worth a pound of cure. – Benjamin Franklin
If everyone can go around talking about safe sex, I guess I can talk about safe gardening! I will list exercises from A-O to keep you limber for those gardening tasks.
If my neighbors saw me do some of this stuff, I think they’d call 911. Maybe they’d call the little men in the white jackets too! LOL!!!
Today is NATIONAL GARDENING EXERCISE DAY!!! You may be tempted to just run out and jump right into gardening, but is that wise??? Here are just a few suggestions that might make your gardening experience more enjoyable and much less painful.
A. Before you plant that Adam’s Needle you dug up on vacation in Southern Oklahoma, do a few Abdominal Arm Raises: Lie on your back on a smooth surface with your knees bent. Tighten your stomach muscles, drawing your belly button down toward your spine. Continue to keep these muscles tight while alternately lifting and lowering your right arm (keep your elbow straight). Now lift and lower your left arm. Make sure you are not holding your breath. Do 2 sets, each lasting 60 seconds.
B. Those Bachelor Buttons won’t weed themselves, but make sure you do this Back Stretch before you take on the task: Lie on the floor, pull your knees into your chest and wrap your arms around them. Hold that position for 60 seconds, relax and repeat 2 more times.
C. Summer salads will taste great with the cauliflower you are growing in your vegetable garden! Make sure you do this Calf Stretch before you go out to care for it: Place both hands on a wall or fence in front of you. Step back with one leg, leaning into the wall, assuming a basic lunge position. Keep the heel of your back foot flat on the ground. Hold this position for 30 seconds then return to starting position. Repeat on the opposite leg.
D. Nobody likes to have dandelions in the yard, but before you go deal with the weeds, remember to Drink H2O: Drink an 8-ounce glass of water before heading out the door. Drink water every hour.
E. Your Evening Star may need some attention, but before you bend and stretch to care for it, do some Extension Exercises: Position one leg in front of the other in a basic lunge position. Support your upper body with one arm resting on your front leg while holding a 2 pound weight in your other hand. Your shoulders should be square to the front. Begin with the weighted arm extended in front of you at a 45 degree angle and your back straight. Pull your arm back, keeping your elbow close to your body and squeeze your back muscles together. Return your arm to the starting position. Repeat on the other arm. Do 2 sets of 8-10 reps.
F. Fairyfluff is great for curb appeal, but make sure you have eaten good nutritious Food before you go play in the dirt: This is especially important for those who suffer from diabetes. Having low blood sugar in the blazing hot sun is not a good idea. Check your blood glucose level before you go outside to garden.
G. Geraniums look nice in clay pots around your porch. Doing some Gentle Hand Stretches will help you get a better grip on your gardening tools: Gently pull 4 fingers back with opposite hand. Repeat with other hand. This prevents Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
H. How about some Holly with pretty red berries? Before you plant it you should probably do a Hip Stretch: Holding onto a tall shovel for balance, cross one leg over the other. Sit down into the other leg. You should feel a stretch through the back of your hip. Hold this position for 30 seconds then return to standing position. Repeat on the opposite leg.
I. There’s nothing like beautiful Iris to lift your spirits! Planting bulbs involves a lot of bending and squatting. Isolate and Strengthen these muscles: Stand with your feet no further than shoulder width apart, toes forward. Place hands on hips for stability, keeping your chest tall, bend your knees and sit back, as if sitting in a chair. Squat down as far as you can without bending your knees past 90 degrees. Place your weight through your heels to prevent knee strain. Return to standing position. Do 2 sets of 8-10 reps.
J. Jonquils are the first flowers we see each Spring. They are also bulbs to be planted. Jumping Jacks can strengthen muscles: Get your legs ready for the bending and squatting involved in planting – or weeding the flower bed.
K. Korean Grass is a lovely accent but still needs to be maintained. Strengthen arm muscles with curls (kurls – lol) so you will be ready for the task: Stand with your feet no wider than shoulder width apart, knees bent and your toes forward. Keep your elbows close to your sides and your wrists in a neutral position. Lift the 2 pound weights toward your chest. Stop before the weights touch your shoulders. Lower the weights to the resting position. Repeat. Resist gripping the weight too tightly. You should be able to open your fingers and still lift the weight. Do 2 sets of 8-10 reps.
L. A lilac bush is not only beautiful but has such a pleasant fragrance. It’s a good idea to do some basic lunges before planting: Place your feet about at shoulder width and step forward with the right foot. Inhale as you flex your right hip and knee while keeping your knee pointed in the same direction as your foot. Keep your torso upright as you continue to bend your right knee until it forms a right angle and your left knee is almost touching the floor. Ensure that your right knee does not extend beyond your toes.
M. Isn’t it great to eat melons you’ve grown in your own garden? Before you pick up that hoe to plant seeds, you’d better do some middle whittlers to prevent soreness: Stand with your feet no greater than shoulder width apart. Holding a hoe behind you at shoulder or waist level, slowly turn your shoulders to the right. Hold this position for 2-5 seconds then turn to the left and hold another 2-5 seconds.
N. The New Potatoes you buy at the grocery store just don’t taste as good as the ones from your own garden! This neck and shoulder stretch will help you stay in good shape for planting: Hold a towel over your head. Bring the towel behind your head, with one hand and lower the other hand to below shoulder height. Hold and gently pull on the towel. Switch sides and repeat.
O. Okra seems to be an acquired taste. The way you prepare it matters to most people. Some like it in Gumbo while some like it battered and fried. Either way, before you go out and work on those tall stalks, you need to open the chest. Stand next to a wall, post or large tree. With your elbow bent, place your forearm flat against this surface. Turn your entire body away from your arm until you feel a slight stretch in your chest and front portion of your shoulder. Hold this position for at least 30 seconds. Repeat on the other arm.
Prevent injury and much of the soreness related to gardening with these simple steps. Take care of yourself as well as you take care of your garden. 🙂