Gardening is good workout

How to keep fit in the garden

Rising temperatures, sunshine and lots of fresh green: in May it is high time to whip up the garden. Exercise and sport in the fresh air are now really fun again. Why not combine both?Prof. Dr. Naveed Sattar, a sports medicine specialist at the University of Glasgow, explains how to turn gardening into a healthy workout.

5 tips for a garden workout

Mow vigorously

Mowing the lawn is the perfect way to start your workout. Above all, it promotes endurance and its intensity can be compared to Nordic walking. "Mowing the lawn and all the activities that go with it are good for the heart," says Prof. Dr. Sattar. “Mowing should take at least 20 minutes.” The exercise can be optimized by leaving out the collecting container while mowing and simply raking the grass yourself. It is important: do not cramp your arms and shoulders and keep your back straight.

Off to the bed

Editing flower beds is the all-round exercise par excellence. There is something here for every part of the body, especially when it comes to raking and digging. "You are welcome to take it easy," explains Prof. Dr. Sattar. “Exercises that only get you slightly out of breath are ideal.” When working in the bed, it is best to get on your knees and avoid a hollow back. The four-legged position is also ideal because it is easy to keep your back straight. You can also support yourself well with one hand and work with the other.

Cut loosely

"Trimming hedge is roughly comparable to classic strength training as you know it from the gym," says Prof. Dr. Sattar. Here, too, it is important not to cramp the body. This can happen quickly in an activity that requires a lot of effort. For example, if you pull your shoulders up, it's time to put the scissors aside and shake out your arms vigorously. Then you can continue with a corrected, relaxed posture.

Lift properly

"In general, any gardening work that uses muscles is good strength training," says Prof. Dr. Sattar. This also includes watering flowers or pushing wheelbarrows. This trains your arms, back and legs. “It is important that you lift heavy objects in the correct posture.” You can prevent injuries by lifting from a crouch instead of your back and ensuring that your back is upright and not bent forward when walking.

Keep your composure

Finally, you can make good use of unpopular gardening tasks: joint scratching and weeding. It is best to get on your knees and support yourself with one arm. A pad for the legs, for example a small rubber mat, makes this exercise comfortable. Always keep your back straight. With a little stamina and the right posture, you can turn scratching the joints into a gentle exercise for your arms and back.

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