And, while he finds this work to be akin to meditation or yoga in terms of its calming and therapeutic benefits (as most gardeners do I’d imagine), it can take quite a toll on the body.
If you're a gardener, you most likely feel your strains/pains/aches/soreness in your knees, low back and hamstrings which really stinks because this can make moving around the rest of the day challenging.
The last thing you want is to have to retire from something you love because it doesn’t feel good so here are some moves you can do before, during and/or after that address all of those hot spots I mentioned earlier! Try these out 1-2 times daily (or even more at the peak of your gardening season) and let me know how you feel!
Imagine your torso is a balloon. Balloons fill up on all sides and you’re going to do the same thing! As you lay on your back with your feet on the floor (or elevated like the video above), don’t just focus on your stomach lightly rising but also your sides and back. Breathe for 2 minutes or so.
Lay on your back with both feet on the floor. Now, straighten one leg at the knee; feel the front of your thigh contract lightly as the back of your thigh lengthens. Alternate legs. After marching about 5-10 times on each side, keep one leg up. Point and flex your foot up in the air 10 times. Follow that up by doing 8-10 big foot circles clockwise and then counter-clockwise. Then switch legs.
Flip over onto your stomach and prop yourself up onto your elbow, forearms parallel to each other. If you feel any discomfort in your low back creep your arms forward a bit until you’re comfortable. Place your tongue on the roof of your mouth and breathe in and out through your nose. Look up with your eyes and let your head follow. Look down toward the floor and let your head follow. Do this 10 or so times. Then, look over your shoulder and behind you in one direction and then in the other direction. Do this 10 or so times.
Sit up tall with your legs extended and apart out in front of you. You can absolutely use your arms for balance or support if you need to. Look over your shoulder and let your body corkscrew itself, following your eyes, as if you’re looking for something. Then, look (with your eyes first) over your other shoulder. Go back and forth like this 10 or so times. Make sure you’re breathing! Let your legs go with you, too, it will allow your thigh bones to get internal and external rotation in the hip socket.
Whether you’re in a high plank with your hands on the floor or on a very sturdy chair/couch/counter, get into that plank and take a breath in. Exhale as you pick your hips up and back, pushing the floor/chair/counter/etc away, reaching your shoulder blades down your back and your heels to the floor. Take a few breaths in that position. Repeat 2-3 times.
- Keep the plant you’re working on as close to your body as you can if possible. The further away a weight is from the center of your body, the more your low back has to get into the action.
- Take breaks! Try not to stay in a crouched position for too long at a time. In fact, you can do any of the above resets as your break!
- If you tend to garden crouched on one knee, try alternating legs as you move through your garden.
- If you’re in the thick of planting/weeding/etc and your knees are bent for longer periods of time, pay attention to how you sit for the rest of the day. Stay away from crossing your legs or sitting in the criss-cross-applesauce position.