There are a lot of reasons dandelions makes me smile. I love that toddlers think they’re beautiful and insist on handing over bouquet after bouquet of these sunny weeds. I love that kids make wishes and blow seeds all over the place. I love that you can use them to write messages on the pavement. But this year, I love them because this year I get to RIP THEM OUT and get rid of them.
Last year at this time I had a torn ACL and was in a lot of pain. There was NO way I could have gotten down onto the ground and played in my garden. Yesterday, I spent 4 hours getting dirty and ripping away all the weeds and making my yard beautiful again. Four hours. For someone recovering from injury it’s the small successes you choose to celebrate. And this year, I get to get back to weeding. I’m not even close to being done, but it felt ridiculously good.
Today I feel muscles I haven’t felt for a year. Muscles I swear you only use for gardening. I love gardening as my workout. It is, by far, my favorite functional fitness workout. On average, depending on your weight, you can expend between 250-400 calories an hour with gardening. While you garden you target muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility and yes, even some cardio, depending on what you’re doing.
So, get in your garden Mamas and get your functional fitness workout in. I guarantee that tomorrow you’re going to feel muscles you’ve forgotten about!
Here are a few tips to help get you started:
- Warm up. Start with a little light raking before you get into the hard digging and pulling and ripping. Get your joints lubricated, your heart pumping and ease into your gardening workout.
- Get on the ground. I see a lot of people weed their gardens standing up and bending from the waist. If you want to be able to move tomorrow, get on the ground. Otherwise you’re doing deadlifts all day long and your hamstring are going to revolt against you in the days to come.
- Engage your core. While you’re pulling, digging and fighting with the weeds be sure to brace your core. Roll your shoulders back, pull your belly button gently into your spine, engage your pelvic floor and drop your tailbone an inch or so. This will help you get a little more force behind your weeding and protect your back.
- Bring a couple bottles of water out to your garden with you. Gardening is hard, sweaty work, usually done in the sun, so be sure to keep your water close to you and drink often.
- Let your mind wander. Gardening can be extremely therapeutic for the simple fact that you don’t need to think about anything. You can let your mind wander, you can plan and strategize or you can just allow yourself to think about nothing. It’s up to you what kind of therapy you need. No demands, just weeds.
- Stretch it out. Once you’re done for the day and you’ve put your tools away, head for the shower. Once in there take time to stretch while the water pounds away all the dirt. The warmth of the water will help aid the benefits of stretching, so take an extra few minutes in there to complete a full body stretch.
Go Mamas, go beautify your yard and get your workout in. Enjoy your time out there in the dirt and be kind to your body, your mind and your garden. All three need your attention. I know I will certainly take my body out there again and again this year. Woop!