Gardens are not made by singing ‘Oh how beautiful’, and sitting in the shade’ Rudyard Kipling

Never a truer word was spoken by Mr Kipling (not the cake variety!). A fabulous mature garden is a sight to behold, but behind that wondrous vision is the blood, sweat and tears of a hard-working gardener. We are coming around to the time of year when we need to begin cutting back, planting bulbs and essentially putting the garden to bed for the winter.

top exercises for gardeners back

The physical graft involved takes our bodies into all sorts of weird positions that we definitely weren’t meant to hold for extended periods, not to mention the amount of strength that is needed to lug bags of compost around and carry heavy pots.

After a day in the garden, my body cries out to be unravelled and returned to its pre-gardening state. So what can you do to help? Here are my three Pilates moves that can assist.

Spread Eagle 

This can be done standing or seated and is a great way to open up the spine if you have spent an extended time bent over.

top exercises for gardeners back

  • Take the arms out to the side just lower than shoulder height, like the wings of a bird reaching out.
  • Reach the arms forward as if you are cuddling a huge teddy bear that you can’t quite get your arms around. As you do this round the spine, pulling the spine back as the arms reach forward.

top exercises for gardeners back

  • Turn the palms outward and circle the arms in a breaststroke-type movement simultaneously lifting the breastbone forward and reaching the arms back behind the body.
  • Repeat 3 -5 times or as feels comfortable

That’s the upper back sorted …….now for the lower back…..

Rotating Hip Stretch 

top exercises for gardeners back

  • Lie on your back with the feet wide apart. Arms relaxed by the sides of the body.
  • Allow both knees to rotate over to one side. Stretch the top knee away from you in the rotated position,hopefully there will be a lovely stretch in the front of the hip. Repeat to the opposite side.

top exercises for gardeners back

  • Increase the stretch by taking the top arm above the head and reaching long.
  • Repeat 3 -5 times each side or as comfortable.

And now to put it together……

Cat Stretch 

top exercises for gardeners back

  • Bring yourself onto your hands and knees (pop a pillow under your knees if it feels uncomfortable)
  • Arch the spine up toward the ceiling, beginning at the tailbone. Tuck the bottom under, lift the ribs toward the spine and push into the floor with the hands as the back rounds.
  • Reverse the move by pressing the tailbone to the ceiling, arching the lower back and whole spine toward the floor.
  • Repeat 5-8 times or as comfortable.

A few rounds of these exercises irons out my spine and gets me ready for another full day in my garden.

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Telephone: Debbie – 07949 051778