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Moving Mulch the Right Way

Posted by Suzie Canale on Wed, Jun 10, 2015


It’s that time of year and homeowners are knee deep in their mulching piles.  I know this part of our annual landscaping chores is not one of our favorites but there’s no denying the effect of this finisher around driveways, flowerbeds and backyard paths.  For a relatively cheap cost, we’re able to create a picture worthy display that will make the perfect summer Eden for you and your family. 


photo credit:

So why do we crab about mulch?  Because it’s heavy!  Those wood shavings weigh a ton after the first three wheel barrels and maybe we don’t readily excite about the tube of Bengay we’ll need to smooth out the sores. 


But here’s something you might not realize….


There are several tips that will keep you safe from tearing muscles or breaking your back!  Professional gardeners and landscapers possess the inside knowledge to keep you well exercised but unharmed from this grueling job.  Not only will you evade a trip to the ER but you might even see positive changes for conditioning your body including sculpted legs and arms.  See if what the experts say might assist you this spring while you shovel your yard to beauty!

  Stretching Before You Start                    

  Stretching before you begin to mulch the yard.           




                                                                    Listen To Your Body


If you start to feel intense pulling in your lower back-stop!  This is your body’s way of telling you to take a break before any further damage can occur.  After all, the mulch isn’t going anywhere so rest when you need to!

Tags: Garden Center, Gardening, Gardening in Boston, exercise, Mulch

Gardening Promotes Flexibility In People

Posted by Suzie Canale on Wed, Apr 22, 2015

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.


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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

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.

Tags: Gardening, Garden Roses, Gardening in Boston, #EXFL, exercise, Arbor Day, Earth Day

Surviving This Boston Winter by Snowshoeing

Posted by Suzie Canale on Fri, Feb 20, 2015

We are midway through the winter season and some of us are starting to get a little stir crazy from being house bound but did you know that Boston has some terrific ways to beat the blues?  No, it’s not a cake recipe or a yet another Netflix movie but a way to get up and start utilizing Mother Nature’s seasonal attributes!  Finding a winter activity is one of the most important tasks to complete if you’re planning on calling New England your home year round.  For some it can be gliding across a frozen pond or for others, a powder-covered hill to ski down is what keeps a happy smile across their face in February.  For others selecting a sport complimentary of the season can prove to be quite difficult.  What can we do that requires little investment for equipment, low maintenance for planning at the last minute and doesn’t insist speeding down a mountain or sheet of ice at 80 miles per hour?  Well, I might just have the answer for you-snowshoeing!


                                             photo credit

Yes, snowshoeing is making a giant comeback for many New England outdoor enthusiasts because it doesn’t cost a lot and almost anyone in variation of physical fitness can do it!  The beauty of the sport allows participants to hike through some of Boston’s most stunning forestry while burning calories and heightening their endorphin levels, thus increasing a person’s mood.  Crystal lakes, pine matted paths and fragrant evergreen foliage are only a few of the many breathtaking scenic features that one will see when fastening a pair of snowshoes to their feet.  The winter environment also may surprise you with interesting animals and birdlife that stick around our area during even the coldest weather.  LL Bean carries a variety of sizes and styles and can easily be shipped to you before the springtime rolls around to warm things up.  Not sure where to go once you’ve bought your gear?  Check out these spectacular spots to enjoy your first snowshoeing experience in Boston.


                                         photo credit:

Blue Hills Reservation

695 Hillside St, Milton

MA 02186

This is a great place to visit particularly if you are a beginner and want to try somewhere close to home for the first time.  Conveniently located near both highways 93 and 95, you’ll have no problem finding parking or a beautiful scenery as you track through the Blue Hills snow paths.


Harold Parker State Forest

305 Middleton Road

North Andover, MA 01810

This is one of my favorite places to see a picturesque view of a winterized New England.  The forest contains several trails with majestic trees as well as a pond that ice fishermen enjoy during the winter months.  There is no fee for snowshoeing or cross-country skiing and the park does host small parking lots around the nature area.  If you like this location, you might want to check out the summer camp offered in July and August. 

Suzie Canale, Westwood, MA 


Tags: Snow, exercise, winter, outdoors, Snowmageddon

How To Beat the January Blues

Posted by Suzie Canale on Fri, Jan 09, 2015

The holidays are over, the decorations have been put away for another year and while some find relief in this fact, others can’t help to feel a little blue once January rolls around.  If you’re living in New England, you are well aware of the frigid temperatures, which can be troubling to handle as well.  It’s darker, snowier and most of us are still buffing back our bank accounts from December’s season of spending so it’s no wonder why some of us might struggle through this month.  I know that I was certainly one of them, that is, before I changed my outlook with a few tips and tricks.  This is what worked for me but don’t hesitate to add your own ideas that will lift your spirits and get you back on the happy trails once again!


New Years Resolutions




                                    photo credit: Huffington Post

New Year’s resolutions can actually cheer a person up believe it or not if the goal works to strengthen your serotonin uptake.  Now you may feel the aim has to shoot for the moon but the simpler the better.  Erect a resolution that focuses on positivity such as stopping yourself when trouble arises and utilize problem solving skills instead of giving up or inhibiting a depressed emotion.  Easy change ups in our reactions from positive to negative can do a world of good in alleviating constant non-preferable feelings. Every year, my family and I write our resolutions down and send it out to sea as a message in a bottle.



readers_digest                                     photo credit:

It’s a proven fact that physical activity disperses anxiety and depression so if you’ve been hesitant about exercise, now’s the time to get up and moving!  For some people, joining a gym might be the answer but it doesn’t have to be that expensive.  Although Boston has a tendency to be icy which may dissuade from outdoor activity, take a trip to the mall and walk the circuit before stores open.  Another approach could be to watch exercise TV shows, which are prevalent on both local access and On Demand viewing.  Completing a few stretches and leg lifts can even help to get the blood flowing and you’ll be amazed just how bright your outlook begins to escalate!

 Surround Yourself With People



          Sometimes we become down and not realize that the real reason is lack of human contact.  It’s easy to bunker down in our homes when the sky is gloomy and the weather is not ideal.  What we don’t see is that our levels of communication and sense of touch deplete, shutting down the part of the brain that craves social processing.  Without this, the body looks for other ways to satisfy this need such as binge eating and drinking; things that we all know are bad.  Instead, look in your local paper and attend craft shows, bingo games, and community get-togethers or just call a friend up for a warm cup of coffee and the new café in town.  Pretty soon you’ll find your spunk again and be ready for when the spring arrives!




Tags: Family Time, New Years Resolutions, exercise

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