When you're working in the garden, you'll find yourself hunched over
from time to time. It's important to avoid this, as hunching over can cause
serious back pain and neck strain. Instead, bend responsibly by engaging your
the entire time. Your core muscles help stabilize your entire body. They make up
your abs and back as well as your inner trunk muscles that help build and protect
the spine. Working and maintaining these muscles help prevent back pain and injury
all while helping reduce
harmful belly fat.
To aid injury prevention, add various core exercises to supplement the work you accomplish in the garden. Simple planks, crunches, bridges, and other bodyweight exercises can be done at home and still produce great results.
Breaking out the rake can give your arms and shoulders a serious workout
if you do it right. Use short, strong motions and change sides every 2 to 3
minutes to make sure you don't build more on one side than the other. Keep
the rake close to your body and make sure your back is straight while you
move about the garden.
Of course, raking isn't exactly a year-round activity in all climates. A good way to get your arm workout when leaves are still on the trees is to practice composting. Compost is rich, nutrient-filled soil formed by decaying organic matter. People use compost as an additive to their gardens and beds as well as when they plant trees and shrubs to enrich pre-existing soil. Spreading the compost over garden areas takes great amounts of tilling and raking in the dirt to make sure it fully combines. Learn more about how to compost here.
Whether you're picking up a pallet of newly budding plants or you need to move that bag of soil from one side of the yard to the other, you should always use your legs to lift heavy objects in the garden. Lifting with your legs helps work your hamstrings, quadriceps, glutes, and calves for long and lean legs. You also help strengthen and tone these muscles as you squat in the garden digging at the dirt or pruning your plants. Just like you should with your upper body exercises, always be sure to engage your core for stability and safety when squatting.
While you may enjoy this new workout routine, keep in mind that it's
still physical exertion. Be sure to drink plenty of water when working
outside to prevent dehydration and heat stroke. You also want to wear
sunscreen with a high SPF, light clothing with good coverage, and wear
a wide-brimmed hat to keep the sun's harmful rays off your face. Finally,
take some time after your gardening session to stretch. You'd be surprised at
just how sore you can get planting azaleas.
Gardening is a great way to get some physical exercise while doing something you enjoy. The everyday actions involved in gardening help stabilize your core muscles, strengthen your arms, and build a sturdy lower body. Take the time to do each movement properly and treat your time outside like a workout and you'll build a healthy habit that can increase your quality of life.