I’ve been hearing from lots of my Pilates class members that they have been spending time outside gardening over the last few weeks.

A little pottering around the garden can be a good workout and a chance to unwind, relax and have some time to yourself. However it can be more intensive then you might imagine so next time you are gardening, try to take care of your body too!

Warm up 

It sounds a little silly to warm up before gardening but this will help you to move more easily and get your muscles ready. Start with smaller tasks that require little bending and then move onto bigger tasks.

Don’t bend down to weed

Instead go on all fours so that your back isn’t under strain. Use a pad or cushion under your knees and make sure you are close enough that you are not having to over stretch. 

A full watering can be heavy

Instead of struggling to carry it to the other end of the garden, fill up 2 smaller watering cans and carry one in either hand to keep the weight balanced. 

Mix it up

Vary the task that you are doing every 20 mins so that you aren’t in one position for too long. 

Don’t overload your wheelbarrow

It’s better to make 2 trips than to struggle pushing a load that is too heavy for you. Remember to walk tall, shoulders back, abdominals switched on and look ahead.

Lift using your legs

When lifting bags of soil or heavy loads from the ground make sure you bend your knees and keep your back in a neutral spine position. Your leg muscles are much stronger than your back so avoid bending forward and straining. Use the Squat Exercise for lifting. 

Take a break 

Gardening is more intensive than you think. Take regular breaks, rehydrate and admire your handy work. 

Listen to your body

If something twinges STOP and do something else for a bit.