Working Out in the Garden
Take steps to get healthful benefits from your yardwork
SUNDAY, July 5, 2009 (HealthDay News) -- Beautiful blossoms aren't the only reward you get from gardening. It's also a good workout.
"Working in your garden is a great way to exercise. Whether pulling weeds or spreading mulch, you are using major muscles all over your body and you're sure to break a sweat," Kara Smith, special programs coordinator for the Loyola University Health System's Center for Fitness, said in a news release.
She offered the following gardening exercise and safety tips:
- Establish a regular gardening routine that includes 30 to 60 minutes of yard work two to three times a week.
- Take a brisk walk around the yard to warm up your body before you start gardening.
- If raking is required, make sure to alternate your movement, using both sides of your body to ensure they get an equal amount of work.
- Also switch hands often when digging, using both arms. This helps prevent blisters, repetitive motion injuries and muscle imbalances.
- Take a break to drink some water.
- Protect yourself from the sun by wearing sunscreen, long-sleeved shirts, long pants and a wide-brimmed hat.
- When lifting heavy items, bend at the knees and keep your back straight.
- Invest in a kneeling cushion to support and protect your knees.
- Wear gloves to avoid getting blisters on your hands.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers additional gardening health and safety tips.