If you have ever tried to grow your own food, you know how much work is involved. From building beds to pulling weeds, gardening is a task that requires a lot of strength and stamina, not to mention flexibility. There is no greater feeling than the satisfaction of knowing where your food comes from, but some days an achy back, neck or knees can trump your homegrown glory faster than a growing sprout on a warm spring day.
To prevent fatigue and energize your body, it is important to take periodic stretch breaks. The following yoga inspired stretches will help relieve bodily discomfort brought on by spending hours in the garden. Plus, you may even get a second wind and get more done.
Half Forward Bend
Your knees may begin to feel stiff and tired after squatting or kneeling over your sprigs of future bounty. To refresh your body, stand up and straighten both legs. Next, fold forward until your spine is parallel to the dirt. Place both hands on your shins just below your knees. Keep your back and legs straight. Hold for 20 seconds and then come up. Repeat as often as necessary.
Half Back Bend
Hours of bending over your budding garden will inevitably cause a few minor aches and pains. To relieve lower back tension, stand up straight and interlace your fingers behind your back. Roll your shoulders back while pressing your hands down and lifting your arms up and back. Look up at the blue sky and hold for 20 seconds. Repeat often.
Half Side Bend
Increasing the range of motion in your spine will help you stay supple and relaxed. Reaching for weeds and garden tools from your hands and knees requires a fair amount of flexibility in the muscles of your back. To improve your reach, stand up straight with both arms overhead. Take your right arm in your left hand and then tip to the left. After holding for 20 seconds, switch sides and repeat.
A healthy back, hips and knees are a must for gardeners. Follow these simple suggestions to relieve pain and support your efforts. Gardening is no walk in the park, but thankfully, these three yoga inspired stretches will help to make it a more productive and bountiful experience.
April 16th, 2012