This can involve a great deal of hard physical exercise, yet a pre-workout stretch often gets overlooked as we launch straight into the digging and planting (I am as guilty of this as anyone and bitterly regret it the next day!). There are, however, a few simple steps we can take to get those muscles warmed up and stretched out so we don’t risk an injury or stiffness the next day.
Start with simple shoulder rolls to warm up the shoulder joints and gently swing your arms forward, backward and round in circles until the creaking and cracking stops and you feel the joints start to feel warm and relaxed.
Next take your head gently from side to side then tuck your chin to your chest – hold for a few seconds in each position and only stretch as far as is comfortable, we don’t want any overstretch injuries before we even start the gardening! Avoid rolling your head in a circle as this can put awkward grinding pressure on the neck vertebrae and this is not good.
A gentle way to warm the back, hips and knees is to do gentle hip and knee rolls – first stand with your feet shoulder width apart and slowly circle your hips one way then the other. For the knees keep your knees and feet together whilst gently circling your knees.
Finally bend forward gently to stretch out the back of your legs and slowly roll back up so your shoulders straighten last.
Taking a few minutes to do these before gardening can greatly improve your mobility and reduce the risk of pulling muscles or putting your back out when working in the garden. If you’re unfortunate enough to suffer muscle aches and soreness the next day then come and see Natalie or Heather to ensure a speedy recovery!
Enjoy the approach of spring and may your growing season be a fruitful one.
© Natalie Percival 2015