Sometimes, in an effort
to be fit, we overlook natural ways to incorporate fitness
into our daily lives. If we get creative, we can find ways
to get in shape that arent about hitting the gym or
embarking on a strict program. The process of getting your
yard and garden in order can give you a whole new way to
enjoy getting stronger and more flexible. It can also give
you a jump- start on improved stamina.
Did you ever think that gardening
could be a way to grow flowers at the same time you grow
muscles? All that digging, lifting, reaching, pulling, pushing,
and bending can build up a mild sweat that you can maintain
for up to an hour without even noticing it. Most people
say that time flies when they are gardening. You can burn
up to 300 calories per hour without realizing how much physical
work youve done. If you maintain your yard and garden
yourself, you can stretch the fitness benefits from early
Spring through the end of Fall.
When working in your yard
or garden, just like any other new form of exercise, be
careful to work into it gradually. Youll be using
new muscles so you might feel a little bit sore after your
first few sessions, until your body gets used to the activity.
Try to break up your work into 30 minute segments to begin.
Some slow stretches before you start working and after youre
done will help you minimize soreness.
Some things to keep in
mind when youre gardening:
- Protect your back muscles by always
bending at the knees, not your waist, when picking things
- Get rid of tools with handles that
are too short and replace them with long-handled tools.
- Use a pad for your knees if it bothers
you to kneel in the garden.
- You can purchase small garden stools
on wheels to protect your knees from the stress of kneeling.
- Avoid twisting at the waist when
raking or sweeping. Keep your knees slightly bent and
your front foot pointed toward the direction youre
turning, then turn your body.
Time spent working
in your yard or garden can offer lots of benefits that the
gym cant. Its a great way to spend time with
your family because it provides togetherness and exercise,
along with an appreciation of nature. It can also be a great
stress reliever. Working through a stressful day with a
shovel or a rake can be a benign way to shed the stress,
interact with your family, and improve your surroundings
at the same time. In the end, the beauty of your yard and
garden will go hand-in-hand with your improved fitness and