National Gardening Exercise Day
On Monday, June 6, 2010, State Garden Clubs and thousands of "Aerobic Gardeners" across America will be encouraging people to substitute the phrase "yard work" with "yard exercise!" That's right, by making a few small changes, tending your lawn or garden will no longer be a "chore" but a great way to achieve physical fitness. You might think of it as "Aerobic Gardening" or "Get Fit Through Gardening."
Now don't feel that you have to "go for the burn" or exercise in the garden aerobically every time. Modify the program to meet your individual needs. At the very least, using these techniques will help reduce back strain and muscle soreness so often associated with gardening.
Jeffrey Restuccio, a nationally recognized author and speaker on the subject of gardening and exercise, offers these pointers. To get the most benefit of Gardening Exercise, follow the Aerobic Model.
1) Warm up your muscles before you garden for five to ten minutes.
2) Stretch for five to ten minutes. Yes, stretch before you garden! Stretching will help relieve back strain and muscle soreness and avoid injury.
3) Garden using a variety of motions at a steady pace. Plan out your gardening exercise session to include a variety of movements such as raking, mowing, weeding, pruning and digging and alternate between them often, every fifteen minutes, for example.
Here are six different motions or techniques to rake, hoe and weed:
Don't bend from the back as you rake or hoe. If you make just one change, this should be it. Bend from the knees and use your legs, shoulders and arms in a rocking motion. Also alternate your stance between right-handed and left-handed. Alternating stance balances the muscles used. These techniques require time and practice but after a period of seasons, years and decades it will become a natural part of your gardening routine.
4) Ideally, you should stretch again after you have thoroughly warmed up your muscles with fifteen to twenty minutes of steady raking, hoeing, weeding, planting or mowing.
5) Cool down after your gardening exercise session by walking, picking flowers or vegetables or just enjoying the fruits of your "exercise."
Don't bend from the back as you rake or hoe. If you make just one change, this should be it. Bend from the knees and use your legs, shoulders and arms in a rocking motion. Also, alternate your stance from right to left often. Get Fit Through Gardening is comparable to working out at the spa and before you leave, you're handed a basket full of fresh strawberries, power-walking to the supermarket and receiving a ninety percent discount on fresh tomatoes, or cycling twelve miles and coming home each time to a fresh garden salad. It's the ultimate cross-training activity.
Just remember these key points:
For more information contact your local State Garden Club Chapter or Jeff Restuccio at (901) 517-1705 or visit the website www.getfitthroughgardening.com.
For more information, my books, Get Fit Through Gardening (2008) and Fitness the Dynamic Gardening Way, are available!
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