Thereʼs a Chinese proverb: If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. If you want happiness for a day, go fishing. If you want happiness for a year, get married and, if you want happiness for a lifetime, take up gardening!
For a lifetime of garden happiness you need to look after yourself as you would a treasured plant with regular watering, shade protection (hat, sunglasses, sunscreen & gloves), compost (nutritious food & snacks).
Keeping fit for all four seasons also means itʼs essential to follow a regular fitness program. Gardening tasks vary and involve a range of muscle groups so gentle stretching before and after each session is imperative. Find a patch of grass in the sunshine and, if you have a yoga mat, use it.
Sturdy outdoor furniture easily converts into an outdoor gymnasium. Chairs can be used for step-ups, bench seats for tricep dips, a table for push-ups. If you are needing ideas or inspiration itʼs worth employing a personal trainer who specialises in outdoor fitness & body weight training for advice. They will write a specific training program catering to your needs and ensure your equipment and technique is correct…by the way, I’m available!.
Avoid repetitive strain injuries by alternating jobs every 20-30 minutes. For example follow weeding with pruning, raking with pushing wheelbarrows. If you are shovelling soil, alternate both sides of your body equally – be sure to change the ‘digging’ foot regularly. Protect your knees when kneeling by using a foam pad or an old cushion.
When lifting (whether it’s a small pot or a heavy bag of manure) protect your lower back and always be mindful of your movements:
- keep objects as close to your waist as possible
- bend from the hips and knees (not the waist), maintain the natural curve of the lower back (neutral spine)
- tighten abdominal muscles – draw your belly button in towards your spine – exhale on exertion
- placing feet wider apart will improve stability
Get rid of that leaf blower (use a rake or broom) and sell the ride on mower. Power to manual labour – guzzle up those calories!
After a day in the garden be sure to sit back (grab a glass of h2o) and enjoy the fruits of your labour!