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Gardening as Back Breaker

Gardening as Back Breaker

If you’re in the northern hemisphere, you might be in the process of planting a garden. I love gardening (mostly) but mine has gotten the better of me lately, and the weed situation, combined with the completely out-of-character weather, means I have just been planting the last couple of weeks.

(Usually I try to have all tomatoes and peppers in the ground by the first of March. Don’t tell my former neighbors that I didn’t even come close this year. Or that I had to buy all my seedlings. Shhhhh. Terry, if you’re reading this close your eyes.)

Gardening is often used as an example of great exercise. It certainly requires more movement than many other household tasks… like doing the taxes.  But instead of exercise, let’s think of it as movement. A great opportunity for lots of movement.

The movement I’m getting in the photo above will result in a lot of back pain. Ugh.

Gardening as Hamstring Stretch

Gardening as Hamstring Stretch

With some modification and mindfulness, I can be stretching my hamstrings (and protecting my spine) instead. Win!

Of course, for many of us (me included) it can be difficult to actually reach the ground that way…

Gardening as Hip Opener

Gardening as Hip Opener

… which brings me to the squat as a lovely option. Using glutes and hamstrings and core and STILL protecting my spine (mostly)…

but perhaps not being able to hold this position for very very long.   Alternating frequently is a good option. Or…

Gardening as Sustainable Movement

Gardening as Sustainable Movement

There’s always the compromise: Some knee bend with a nice neutral spine… and I can even sort of support myself with my elbows on my knees for an extra cheat. (Notice the knees stacked over the heels and the butt sticking way out- and the ribs NOT thrusting forward-  it’s the beginnings of a squat, but more sustainable with my current strength.)

And finally, when I need a break from all of the above,

Gardening as... real life.

Gardening as… real life.

But of course even this gets tiring. So it’s all about the frequent position change. Which makes it all more like movement, anyway. Besides, I have to keep carrying giant piles of weeds away.

Don’t have a garden, but you want to get in on some of this great movement? Come on over to my house! I’m happy to share! 😉

Sort of sad that you can’t even really tell in these photos that this is a garden, and not just a random patch of ground. Sigh. Back to work. Happy Spring!

 

 

2 Comments

  1. Yes, crazy year for gardeners. We had frost the past 2 nights here. No tomatoes in the ground yet. I have tried all the variations for picking. Usually, at the end of a long row, I am sitting on the ground and scooting on my butt. No matter what I do or how I do it, my back will be tired and sore for a day or 2. Ahhh, the glorious life of a farmer. Psoas and calf stretching before picking seems to help when I take time to do it, which is not often enough. Aquaponic gardening is much easier. I can pick strawberries at waist height !!! We just need more growing area. Good luck with the garden!

    Reply

    • I’m so glad to hear you’re psoas and calf stretching! And I’m all in favor of sitting on the ground. At the end of a long row, or at the beginning!

      Reply

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