6 Weeks to Gardening Fitness

“Spring Training”

Does the beginning of gardening season signal the beginning of sore muscles and a tired back? Why not prepare for the gardening season with a little “spring training?”

Here is a six-week exercise program that will target the muscles most used during gardening. These exercises will promote gains in strength, flexibility and endurance to start the gardening season with energy and end it injury free!

General Guidelines

Check with your doctor before beginning this or any other exercise program. This program is to be done two or three times per week. Each week, additional stretches and exercises will be added until you have a complete program. This program is designed to build upon itself.

Each week, you should perform the exercises for that week as well as those you have learned up to that point. If you find some exercises to be particularly challenging, you may want to delay progression to the next week’s exercises until they become easier.

Listen to your body and adjust the exercises according to your abilities. If a particular exercise is extremely difficult or causes discomfort, do not continue the exercise.

It is normal to feel fatigued after exercising. As you gain strength, flexibility and endurance, the fatigue will decrease.

One last tip, when doing any stretching or exercises, be aware of your breathing and do not hold your breath.

Warm-Up

Always begin any physical activity with an adequate warm-up.

You may wish to take a brisk, 5-minute walk around your garden. Use this time to take a mental inventory of what you wish to do in your garden this season or to evaluate projects already in progress. Whatever you chose to spend the time doing, make sure that your muscles are warmed up and ready to work.

Importance of Stretching

One of the biggest mistakes many gardeners make is the failure to stretch before and after gardening. Because many people do not equate gardening with exercise, they forget to prepare their muscles for the task at hand and jump right in. This common yet costly mistake often results in injury — not to mention disappointment and soreness.

After a proper warm-up, performing a few stretches will help prevent such injuries from occurring. Stretching after a long gardening session will also guard against soreness and help prevent loss of flexibility.

When stretching, hold the position for a minimum of 30 seconds. Do not bounce or perform quick movements. Move in a slow, controlled manner. Move until you feel a slight resistance, then hold that position.

Your Program

Week 1: Stretch: Trunk Rotation Exercise: Abdominal Marching Abdominal Arm Raises

Week 2: Stretch: Back/Shoulder Stretch Exercise: One Arm Row

Week 3: Stretch: Chest/Shoulder Stretch Exercise: Wall Push -Up 1

Week 4: Stretch: Leg Stretches- Calf Stretch Hamstring Stretch Hip Stretch Quad Stretch Exercise: Squat Toe/ Heel Raises

Week 5: Exercise: Plate/Pot Raise Wall Push-Up 2

Week 6: Exercise: Curls

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