Summer Fit Tip

One of the many things I love about June, July, and summer in general is gardening. Full disclosure, I am possibly the most ineffective gardener on the planet, but what I lack in skill level I make up with unbridled enthusiasm.

Gardening can be a relaxing and even meditative experience. Unless, of course, your efforts are completely demolished by one epic hail storm, which is exactly what happened to me last week. Ah well. But, after another trip to my favorite garden shop I was once again planting, raking, and laying down compost.

That’s when I had a mental head smacking moment. Gardening offers a great opportunity to reinforce good posture, body mechanics, and even strengthen your core, legs, and upper back and shoulders while mobilizing your hips. On the other hand, you could also end up with aches, pains, and injuries. I don’t know about you, but I choose door number one. And it all starts with proper body mechanics and body awareness.

Here are some tips for help you get started:

1. To prevent neck and shoulder strain while strengthening your upper body at the same time, pull your shoulder blades down and gently squeeze them together. Keep this structural alignment while you work, and check in every few minutes to make sure your shoulder blades are still down and back.

2. When you bend, make sure you are bending from your hips rather than bending from your spine. This will protect your low back and mobilize your hip joints at the same time. To get more bang for your buck, pull your lower abdominal muscles up and in while you work, activating your core muscles and strengthening them at the same time.

3. When you are lifting, again, bend from your hips, not your spine, and engage your abdominals. Keep your shoulders blades down, breathe in, and exhale as you lift. This will help strengthen your legs and protect your low back as well. Win-win!

These tips will help prevent aches, pains, injuries and strengthen your body while also turning your gardening into a total body somatosensory experience all summer long. Happy gardening!

biomechanics, body awareness, body mechanics, ergonomics, gardening, somatosensory experience