Doctors say to get outdoors if you want to be healthy and you know what, they’re right! Studies show that an increase amount of time spent walking in the woods, combing sandy beaches or playing on the lawn with your kids can actually help eradicate illnesses, stress and ailments. Believing this to be true, I set up an experiment to see if this actually would help my lack of flexibility and backaches that I had been experiencing. To my surprise, there was no doubt that taking an extra fifteen minutes a day to participate in my favorite outdoor activity actually did wonders for these common problems felt by many. What was that activity you ask? Well, gardening of course! Through a period of six weeks, I not only noticed a clear change but also developed a few tips for others who might be going through the same predicament. Without strenuous positions or exhausting tasks, flexibility in muscles and depletion in upper and lower framework afflictions can be attained by following a few easy suggestions when enjoying a planting session of your favorite begonias.
Before bending down to reach for your flat of plants, take a deep breadth from the diaphragm and release the air slowly from your lungs. It’s sounds strange but professionals reveal that in general, people do not breath enough throughout their day, which can actually cause heightened anxiety and stress. Think of it as your warm up exercise and you’ll notice right away the decrease in tension within your body. Once you’ve done this your ready to fully emerge yourself in the “health” of gardening.
photo credit: globalgardensgifts.com
Next you’ll want to get going with your potting and digging so remember when kneeling to do this very slowly as to avoid pulling or tearing of the joints. When bending for multiple plants, bow at the knees instead of a full frontal curve of the back to the ground. This will ease your way into the motion and give you toning as you repeat this movement throughout your session.
If you aren’t into kneeling by your flowerbeds and you’re not afraid of grass stains, sit your bottom right down on the ground and extend your legs in front of you. While you are preparing the soil, take a second to stretch your arms as far down across your legs as you feel comfortable doing. After you get the hang of this, try folding one leg behind you while still keeping the other leg straight. You will feel a bit of tightening that means that the quad is stretching. Other positions that are helpful for flexibility include laying your hands behind your back and forming an arch or lifting your arms straight above your head for a complete lengthening of shoulders, biceps and triceps.
photo via aberdeenflorist.com
Get out there and sample these ways to heighten flexibility and decrease back pain without ever having to leave your backyard. You won’t believe the difference a good gardening day can do for your flowers and your body.