Spring Training: Garden to Get Fit
Gardening can be great physical exercise, and it may provide you with the satisfaction of a fabulous lawn or fresh fruits and vegetables to enjoy at your dinner table. Here are some fun facts and helpful tips to keep in mind for gardening season.
- Gardening for 30 to 45 minutes most days of the week contributes to improved flexibility, reduced blood pressure and overall weight reduction.
- Gardening activities can burn from 100 to 200 calories per half hour.
- Lawn and gardening tasks, such as weeding and pruning, use all the major muscle groups of the body.
- Work at your own pace. Gardening activities should be done at your own pace and level of ability. Start light and build up to what you can handle.
- As with all exercise, make sure you warm up first! Even just a brisk walk around the garden will do the trick.
- Stretching before, during and after gardening will help reduce the risk of injury. In particular, stretch your hamstrings, low back and arms. Move until you feel a slight resistance and hold each position for 30 seconds. Do not bounce or perform quick movements.
- The sun is a great source of vitamin D, but don’t over do it! Remember to protect yourself by wearing sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat. Plus, make sure you have plenty of drinking water to keep hydrated.
- Keep your work close to you. Minimize reaching by using long-handled tools. Whenever possible, use ergonomic gardening tools that are designed to fit your body and complement the way you move.
- Hold objects with a light grasp or pinch, avoiding a tight sustained grip.
- Always wear gloves to protect against cuts, scrapes, chemicals and blisters.
- When working with your arms in front of you, remember not to round your shoulders. Keep your shoulder blades together.
- Work with your arms below shoulder level when possible, or perform the task for 5 minutes or less.
- Alternate standing and sitting positions every 30 minutes.
- Use kneepads to protect your knees.
- Work with your forearms in a neutral position (thumbs up).
- Keep your wrist in line with your forearms when pushing, pulling and grasping.
Consider your gardening time as an opportunity to maintain the health of your lawn and yourself!