The Gardener’s Workout

By Michelle Kennedy

If you’re a gardener, you already know that the required digging, squatting and heaving can leave your muscles good and sore. But if you add in a few extra moves along the way, you’ll be giving your body an extra lift right along with your plants. A few ideas (and by the way, I’m veering a bit from the prescribed 15-minutes here…because, really, who spends just 15 minutes in the garden? As long as it’s not too hot, enjoy!).

When you’re watering: Skip the sprinkler and spray from the hose; as you’re directing the water practice some squats (weight in your heels, sit your butt back) or calf-raises (lifting up and down on the balls of your feet) or march in place. You can even become a human sprinkler and toss the sprayer from hand-to-hand. Lift your arms in front of you to shoulder height while you do it; you’ll build stamina and raise your heart rate.

When you’re digging: Shoveling or tilling the dirt will give your heart a boost and prepare the ground for fall plantings, and I am not just talking trees and shrubs. Flowers such as chrysanthemums, ornamental kale and flowering cabbage can all be planted soon. Just check with your local nursery for the best time to get them in the ground.

When you’re cleaning up: Clearing out the rubbish that has built up over the summer is a good exercise in itself; the bending (from the knees, please) and tilling and moving underbrush from side to side gets in a good strength training routine. Throw in a few jumping jacks and you will be set.

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