Gardening tasks that often make me sore can be easier on my body if I stretch first. Repetitive and strenuous tasks like shoveling, weeding on my hands and knees, hauling mulch in a wheelbarrow, or pruning with pruners, loppers, or hand saws often give me a sore back, knees, and shoulders. Since gardening is a lifelong project, it is best that we all take good care of our health and stretch before gardening so we don’t get laid up by knee replacements and other inconveniences. Here are a few stretches that feel good to me, I hope you find some stretches that feel good to you too.
Stretch your arms up above your head and then reach down to the ground rounding your back as you go down. Hinge from the hips and don’t lock your knees. Coming back up, roll your shoulders forward and back. Lean your neck so your ear touches one shoulder then the other. Standing with your feet forward, twist your torso and arms as far around as you can.
With your left knee on the ground and your hips forward. Shift forward toward your right foot to stretch your hip flexors. Engage your core to support your lower back. Lower your left hand down inside your right leg while reaching your right hand up to the sky for a twist. Keep your core engaged, hug your shoulder blades toward your spine, and look up past your right hand. Switch sides. Stretch out your calves with your heel to the ground while you are down there.
Cat and cow:
With your hands and knees on the ground, arch your back up towards the sky until you feel a stretch. Then arch your belly button down towards the ground. Repeat up and down a few times. Then lower your but down on your feet leaving your arms stretched out forward. Stretch your shoulders and back against the ground.
Sitting on the ground, extend your legs straight and reach for your feet. If you can’t reach your feet, bend your knees, grab your feet, and slowly extend your legs to stretch into your low back and hamstrings. Next extend one leg. Tuck your other foot into your opposite thigh. Reach toward your foot with one hand while stretching your other arm up and over toward your extended foot, twisting your chest toward the sky. Switch sides.
Don’t forget to drink plenty of water throughout the day and I find that a well-timed snack break always perks me up.