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!

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