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The 15-Minute Gardener's Workout

Stay Healthy, Fit & Strong All Season Long
  -- By Joe Downie, Certified Physical Fitness Instructor

The rains are ready. The garden tools are ready. Is your body ready?

There are all types of outdoor activities to enjoy, just waiting for you while the weather is nice. But there is something special about beautifying your yard with flowers, fresh mulch, and whatever other creative ideas you have to help make your house feel like home.

Gardening is a pleasure that is hard to explain. You might gladly use up precious sunny weekend days to make the yard look nice – and beat up your body in the process. You might end up with lower back pain from bending over more times in one day than in the last four months, or shoulder pain from picking all those weeds, not to mention how exhausted your legs feel.

The great thing is that it doesn’t have to be that way. You can do a few small exercises on a consistent basis to help strengthen those areas, so you can enjoy the weekend of sun and gardening, without suffering for the following week or two.

You can do these simple exercises (which can all be found in the SparkPeople Fitness Resource Center) at home or the gym. They mimic the motions and movements typically made during gardening. Try doing them as a circuit, going from one exercise to the next with little or no rest. Work up to 2 circuits, 3 times a week.

"The Gardener’s Workout"

1. One arm rows with Swiss Ball
2. Rear delt raises w/ resistance band
3. Lumbar extension (can be performed on all fours also)
4. Body weight squats

Have fun!
"Coach" Joe