National Gardening Exercise Day is June 6. To celebrate, grab your trowel and head outdoors! Many of us overlook the health benefits of gardening, but common gardening activities like digging, planting, raking, and mowing burn calories and work muscles. Gardening can also provide stress relief, improve hand strength and dexterity, promote positive moods, and reduce your risk of certain conditions, such as high blood pressure, osteoporosis, type 2 diabetes, depression, heart disease, and stroke. Gardening is much more than a hobby: It’s also a way to keep your body active and your mind sharp. To enhance your workout, try incorporating stretches and exercises.
Before performing any gardening tasks or exercises, engage in five minutes of stretching. Stretching keeps the muscles strong and flexible, which is essential for maintaining a range of motion in the joints. It can also decrease your risk of injuries. To perform a fold-over stretch, stand tall with your feet hip-width apart. Bend your knees slightly and place your arms by your sides. Slowly exhale as you bend forward from your hips, lowering your head toward the floor. Wrap your arms around the back of your legs and hold for 45 seconds. Release your legs and slowly return to standing.
Burpees work out virtually every muscle in the body, including your legs, chest, and core. They also get your heart pumping and can burn an average of ten calories per minute. To do a burpee, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart with your arms at your sides. With your hips slightly back, lower your body into a squat. Place both hands flat on the floor in front of you, then jump your feet backwards to create a plank position. Jump your feet back up toward your hands, then spring upward with your arms over your head. Land on your feet and return to a squat position for your next repetition.
The Superman pose offers a medium-intensity workout that strengthens your core muscles and lower back. It’s called the Superman pose because it emulates the position that Superman is in when he flies. To do this pose, lie down flat on your stomach on a yoga mat or in the grass. Keep your arms straight at your sides and your face toward the floor. Extend both arms out in front of you, keeping your elbows slightly bent. Lift your legs and arms off the ground and use your back muscles to lift up your chest. Hold the position for one minute and release.
While admiring your beautiful garden, try a set of seated leg lifts. Both beginners and more athletic gardeners are sure to feel the burn of this exercise after just a few repetitions. To do a seated leg lift, sit on the ground with your legs extended straight in front of you. Place your hands with the palms flat on the ground for stabilization. While keeping your core engaged, lean back and lift one leg off of the ground. Hold for five to ten seconds, then place it back down. Repeat this exercise with the other leg. Alternate legs for one minute, take a 30-second break, and repeat.