May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month. And though gardening is not considered an Olympic sport, it is a great way to burn calories, increase strength and flexibility while creating a beautiful garden.
Start with gentle back stretches or light activities before digging, hauling and other more intense gardening activities. Once you get started gardening, alternate intense activities like digging with lighter activities like weeding. Mix up your gardening tasks to vary the muscle groups used. Prune a while, then plant, dig and rake.
Then take a break. Rest your muscles, admire your work and reassess what needs to be done next. And be sure to drink some water and stay hydrated throughout your gardening workout.
Practice good posture and deep breathing as you garden. Keep your back straight and use your core muscles to extend your gardening time and avoid sore muscles. Invest in ergonomic tools for more pain-free gardening.
A bit more information: Don’t let a bad back and sore knees stop you from gardening. Try raised beds or green walls for easier access. Invest in a garden bench, kneeler or other garden accessories that help ease the strain on painful joints.
For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com.