We’ve all done it – “I’ll just do a few jobs in the garden……” and the next day you can barely move!
Many people don’t really consider gardening to be exercise but the truth is – it is!
You need to warm up, cool down and you need to stretch if you are going to avoid the Monday morning body seize!
Whilst we would love all our patients to prepare for the day with a thorough yoga routine we know that many of you just don’t have the time so here are some basic and simple stretches to get you started:
As with all stretches, maintain a good posture and hold the stretch until you feel you have made some progress – and no bouncing!
These are essential to help to avoid over straining your back. When your hamstrings allow better movement at the hips your low back is less likely to be recruited for flexion (bending over) and therefore overworked. Lift your toes up and flex at the ankle to increase the stretch and invite the calf muscles to join in with the stretch. The key to this stretch is to keep your posture. Stay nice and tall!
Gardening involves a lot of work with your arms in front of you which makes good use of the pectoral muscles so give them a thorough stretch beforehand.
Again keep a nice, tall posture throughout. These pictures show two different stretches that both target the pectoral muscles. The key to the one shown using the tree here is to keep the right angles at your shoulder and elbow and to lean forward past the tree. It also works well using a door frame instead of a tree – you could even save time by doing both at once!
These also stretch part of the shoulder so they are a good way to prepare your arms and shoulders for digging and heavy weeding.
The first stretch here will target the left triceps but if you’re really good try the second version on both sides and get the benefit of stretching different parts of the shoulder.
We have already produced a log about these stretches but it is worth emphasising the importance of mobilising the neck and the upper part of the shoulder complex. If you have pots to lift and sacks of compost to shift you need to do these first!