Gardening is one of the best activities for your mind and body. Whether you’re mowing the lawn, planting seeds or reaping a bountiful harvest, your body benefits from the stretching and bending. Your mind benefits from helping to create life and beauty on the planet and from the chemicals produced by the brain when you exercise.
As much fun and rewarding as it may be, the gardener can suffer from too much exercise. The bending and stretching can wreak havoc on your knees and lower back and unless you practice the proper ways to perform the most common of gardening movements, you could become stiff and sore in the joints.
Take a look at these 40 tips for exercising and staying fit while gardening so you can enjoy it more and even make your gardening efforts more productive.
1 – Building Strength for Bending
Standing with legs slightly apart, use two lightweight dumbbells (one in each hand) and take turns sliding each dumbbell down each leg. Keep back and shoulders straight so spine doesn’t bend forward. Repeat 10 times on each side.
2 – Hand Strength to Grip Gardening Tools
Holding a hand exerciser (gripper) in one hand – flex your fingers toward your palm, squeezing the two handles together like you’re going to make a fist. Repeat five times for each hand.
3 – The Proper Way to Bend
Keeping your knees slightly bent, tighten your leg muscles as you’re bending forward in the garden. You’ll be using your abdominal muscles as well as your leg and back muscles, so it’s important you perform bends properly.
4 – Rows for Raking and Mower Starting
Perform rows (inverse pushups) for abdominal muscles. Keep your body straight and push up using your abdominal muscles — with 90 degree bend in elbow. Tighten abdomen while lifting calves and feet from ground. 10 repetitions.
5 – Simple, But Effective Warm Up for Bending
Standing straight, relax your shoulders and torso. Lean back slightly (engaging your abdominal muscles) and bend your knees slightly at the same time. Slowly repeat this exercise for about 15 to 20 seconds.
6 – Loosen Your Shoulder Muscles
Standing straight, raise both shoulders toward your ears. Relax. Now, raise arms straight above your head and grasp your hands together. Relax. Repeat each exercise five to ten times.
7 – Balance and Leg Strength
In a standing position, place your left arm out straight for balance. Raise your left leg backwards at the knee and grasp it with your right hand. Hold for a few seconds. Repeat with right leg. About 5 repetitions.
8 – How to Push a Wheelbarrow
First, don’t place a lot of weight in the front of the wheelbarrow. Keep back straight and push with your core rather than your legs so you’ll maintain balance and keep from slipping.
9 – Squats for Leg Strength
Put your weight on heels (you can point toes up to ceiling if necessary) and keep lower back in alignment. Squat without letting back round toward front. This one will also strengthen gluts and thighs.
10 – Carrying Buckets and Bins
Keep abs tight while carrying large water bottles (1 gallon to 3 gallon – up to 25 pounds) back and forth across the yard to get ready for carrying buckets and bins during gardening time. Work up to the higher weights.
11 – Pulling Weeds and Staking Trees
This is a diagonal exercise, performed by diagonally lifting a weight from outside one knee, then over and above the opposite shoulder. Bring the weight back down and repeat on the other side for 5 to 10 times.
12 – Strong Core for Chopping Wood
Chopping wood is similar to the “Pulling Weeds” exercise, except you can vary the benefits by performing it dynamically and increasing your cardiovascular workout – plus squatting at the same time.
13 – Lunging for Weeds
Lunge by using your entire torso to work your butt and thighs as you move forward. Don’t lean down or let your knee touch the floor, but keep your back straight. Do the same when you’re weeding the garden.
14 – Mowing with a Hand Mower
The proper way to hold your body is straight, but standing a few feet away from the mower’s blades. Push with your entire body as you walk across the lawn for a great cardio workout.
15 – Better Balance in the Garden
Using a Swiss ball, place one hand on the ball while standing with leg (same side) behind ball. Other hand holds a dumbbell, palms upward. Hold opposite leg off floor about 12 inches and bend at hips with flat back.
16 – Aerobic Gardening
Raking, mowing, digging and weeding can all get your heart rate up, but alternate between the movements every few minutes to keep your back from suffering from the exertion in one area.
17 – Bend the Knees – Not the Waist
When you lift heavy objects or use long-handle tools such as a hoe, avoid bending at the waist to accomplish the task. Bend at the knees to keep from straining your back.
18 – Warm Up Stretches
Before embarking on gardening chores, take some time to warm up by stretching your muscles (arm, torso and legs) for five or ten minutes. Then, repeat the stretching warmup after you’ve gardened for 15 or 20 minutes.
19 – Mix It Up
Vary your gardening chores rather than working for an hour at one chore such as weeding or hoeing. It will be less of a strain on the muscles and will provide a full body workout rather than just one area.
20 – Always Cool Down
Especially during the dog days of summer – be sure to walk around after gardening exercises. Pick flowers, vegetables or simple enjoy the beauty of what you’re accomplishing.
21 – Torso Twist
Standing with legs slightly apart, hands on waist – twist to the right from the waist (upper torso) as far as you can. Your shoulders and head should also be engaged in the twisting motion.
22 – Rear Delt Raises Using a Resistance Band (Shoulders)
Begin on all fours and place the resistance band in front of you. Hold one side of band with left hand and grasp other side with the right. Lift the right arm (with band) to shoulder level. Repeat with left side for 3 to 5 repetitions.
23 – Gluts and Thigh Stretches
Sit on floor with legs out in front of you. Cross a leg over the other – foot perpendicular to the quad, using your elbow to lean on and stretch as you’re looking away from the upward knee. Repeat two times for each leg.
24 – Wrist and Forearm Warm-up Stretch
Standing or sitting, extend your right arm in front of you, palm facing out and fingers up. Use the left hand to lightly pressure your left hand, pulling your fingertips toward your face. Keep shoulders relaxed.
25 – Stretch Your Neck for Comfort
Begin seated with legs crossed. Bend your neck to bring your right ear towards your right shoulder and hold. Now, roll head toward ground, bringing chin to chest and hold. Roll head to left and repeat twice.
26 – Butterfly Exercise for Hips and Thighs
Sitting on floor with back straight and shoulders down with feet together and knees bent to side, engage your abs and pull the heels slowly toward you while relaxing your knees to the floor. Hold for ten to 30 seconds.
27 – Abundance of Fresh Air
Take deep breaths of fresh air for lungs, circulation and optimal health while gardening. Breath in through you nose deeply, filling your lungs. Breathe out through your mouth, slowly releasing the air.
28 – Yoga Child’s Pose to Stretch Back
On hands (shoulder-width apart) and knees (hip-width apart) be sure back is straight and abs are engaged. Shift weight over your heels while lengthening spine. Relax head and neck as you reach forward with fingers.
29 – Keep Hamstrings Stretched
Stand with back straight, shoulders down, with feet hip-width apart. Engage your abs and bring right leg forward with heel down and toes up. Bend left knee like you’re sitting back as you’re supporting yourself with hands on thighs.
30 – Advanced Stretch for Long Reaches
Lying in plank position, lift right foot from floor and slide right knee toward the left hand (ankle and knee are on floor). Slide left leg back as far as you can, keeping hips forward and square.
31 – Hip Rotation Stretches
Lie on back, legs and back straight. Bend left knee and place left foot flat on floor. Cross right ankle at left knee. Now, grasp the back of the left thigh, hugging leg toward chest. With right elbow on right knee, push knee to side.
32 – Increase Stride Length
Facing wall (about a foot away), extend arms, placing hands flat on wall (elbows bent). Keep feet flat and step out with your right foot while lengthening your left leg. Feel the stretch in your calves.
33 – Stretch Knee Muscles
Stand with right side of body an arm’s length from wall. Cross left leg in front of right leg. Relax shoulders. With opposite hands on hip, bend left elbow and push right hip to wall. Hold 10 to 30 seconds. Repeat on left side.
34 – Use Medicine Ball to Strengthen Legs
Lie on left side, body in straight line. Hold medicine ball between legs, above ankles — head in one hand and other hand on floor to support. Squeeze ball with legs while slowly lifting both legs off floor. Lower legs and repeat.
35 – Shoulder, Arm and Hand Stretch
Three way stretch – holding arms straight out from shoulders, interlace fingers, knuckles pointed toward face. Stretch arms out from shoulders, flexing fingers/hands forward.
36 – Keep Your Knees Safe
When kneeling during your gardening chores, be sure to use a knee pad. Also, make it a point to kneel on both knees simultaneously to avoid twisting or straining.
37 – Keep Tabs on Your Time
It’s easy to get carried away with gardening chores and work at one task too long. Vary the tasks from planting to mowing or hoeing to harvesting. Take frequent breaks and drink lots of water to stay hydrated and fit.
38 – Lateral Stretches for Shoulders and Back
Stand, feet together and knees slightly bent. With left hand on hip, stretch right arm over your head next to your ear. Engage abs and lean torso to left and slowly reach left with the right arm. Repeat on other side.
39 – Stretch It All Out – An Overall Stretch for the Entire Body
Feet together and legs bent slightly, bend forward – arms behind back and fingers laced together. Weight should be even on each foot. Relax head, shoulders and neck and lift arms over head and line up with shoulders. Breathe.
40 – Don’t Overdo It
Gardening exercises should be performed to the point of discomfort — not pain. Perform all motions slowly and make these exercises part of your gardening chores. Gardening is a great way to reap beauty and bounty – and, keep fit.
When you mimic the motions of the above tips and exercises in your gardening tasks, your body will gain strength and you won’t suffer the pain which some gardeners feel after a day of working outdoors. Gardening is a great way to get fit – and enjoy your creativity.
Tower gardening is the latest trend that allows people to grow their own food at home. If you’ve wanted to grow your own fresh produce, but you don’t have a large yard, this is the answer you’ve been looking for.
What Is a Tower Garden?
A tower garden is a type of vertical garden, but you use it to grow food aeroponically. That means that you grow without soil using only air and water to grow your plants.
You can grow a large variety of plants vertically – saving space. You can grow your tower garden on a roof, patio, or balcony without having to haul heavy soil. Even if you have a yard, you can save space by growing a tower garden.
Tower gardens are also attractive and can provide you with a functional way to beautify a small space.
With the price of produce rising and the safety of many commercial farms a concern, a tower garden is an investment that will pay off. This is perfect for the gardener who’s interested in producing organic food for his family.
The Benefits of a Tower Garden
There’s obviously a benefit of being able to grow food in a small space with a tower garden. However, it has many other benefits when it comes to gardening. If you’ve ever grown food in soil, you’ll appreciate the ease of a tower garden.
When growing without soil, you can eliminate most garden pests. Without soil, most insects that would attack your plants are not an issue. You may occasionally have to deal with some insects, but it will be on a much smaller scale.
Weeding is another task that’s much less of a chore when you have a tower garden. It’s not impossible for weeds to find their way to your garden, but you’ll find that there are fewer than you would have in a traditional garden.
Because you’re growing vertically, you’ll also have less bending and stooping than you would have when working with a typical garden bed. This is especially helpful if you have back or knee problems that make gardening difficult.
This is also a cost effective way to grow your own food. You’ll have to make an initial investment in equipment to grow your garden, but you won’t have to spend much after that. And the money you’ll save on produce will more than pay for the cost of the garden.
And another added benefit of tower gardening is that your food will grow to maturity in less time than it would in soil. That’s less time for you to wait before you can begin enjoying the fruits of your labors.
How Does a Tower Garden Work?
A tower garden is made of a large plastic column that has hydroponic net pots placed throughout it. Internally, a pump keeps water moving over the roots of the plants that you grow.
The tower garden also has a reservoir that contains a liquid fertilizer that helps plants get the nutrients they need so that they can continue to grow. You’ll still need to make sure your plants get plenty of sunlight so that they can thrive.
When you purchase a tower garden kit, you have to put it together. The process is simple and easy and usually takes about a half hour. You’ll have to grow your seedlings separately, but tower gardens come with a seed starting kit to help you with that part of it.
Once you have seedlings that are mature enough to be transplanted, you can add them to your tower garden. After that, you’ll have to perform some routine maintenance to care for your plants.
You’ll need to test the water in your tower garden to make sure the pH is correct. You’ll also need to clean the filter that keeps debris out of the pump. You’ll also need to make sure you don’t have any weeds or insect problems, though these are rare.
In a few weeks you’ll be able to harvest vegetables and greens from your garden that you can use right away in your kitchen. Fresh produce will just be a few steps from your back door.
The Cost of a Tower Garden
At this time, there’s one manufacturer of the official tower garden where you can purchase this system. One tower that includes everything you need to get started, including seeds, will cost you around $500.
This tower will give you the space to grow up to 20 different plants. You can also purchase an extension that allows you to plant up to 28 different plants. Starting with one tower is a great way to get started.
But if you have a large family and cook frequently, you may want more than one tower. If you purchase the Tower Garden Family Garden package, you’ll save money by purchasing three towers at once.
You can also purchase supplies separately if you need accessories or replacement items. You can also purchase a heater if you live in a cold climate so that you can still grow in cooler temperatures.
Many people wonder if the garden is worth the upfront costs. If you’ve been to the supermarket lately, you know how much it costs to feed you family fresh produce.
While you’ll have to spend money up front with this system, you’ll save much more than you spend by not having to purchase produce at the market.
What Can I Grow with a Tower Garden?
You may be wondering if a tower garden will really provide you with the types of foods your family eats. The good news is that a tower garden allows you to grow a wide variety of foods.
You can grow vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cucumbers, eggplant, endive, lettuce, peas, and spinach. You can also grow tomatoes, strawberries, and melons to add sweetness to your garden.
If you love to use fresh herbs, a tower garden can help you enjoy your favorites. When you grow them yourself you get the freshest flavor. Herbs you can grow include basil, chives, cilantro, cumin, dill, lavender, oregano, parsley, sage, and thyme. But you can grow almost any herb.
And if you prefer to grow flowers, or you just want to place a few different flowers in your vegetable garden, there are many flowers that grow well. Some of the most successful varieties are marigolds, salvia, pansies, and sunflowers.
If you love gardening, you’ll be happy to know that you can grow almost anything you would grow in a traditional garden using less space and fewer natural resources. You’ll also get a large crop in less time.
Is Tower Gardening Organic?
Most people who grow their own vegetables are interested in the practice of organic gardening because they want to avoid harmful chemicals including fertilizers and pesticides.
Tower gardening is not technically considered organic gardening because it doesn’t use soil – and that’s a key principle of organic gardening. However, you can eliminate the need for herbicides and pesticides by using this garden.
You will have to add a fertilizer solution to the plant roots because they won’t be in soil to get nutrients. Because this type of gardening takes less space and fewer natural resources than traditional gardening, it’s a good alternative that’s eco-friendly and safe for your family.
How Will Produce Taste from a Tower Garden?
If you’ve never had fresh food from a garden, you’ll be surprised when you take your first bite of something you’ve grown. By the time your local supermarket gets the produce grown commercially, it’s been picked for days, weeks, and even months.
Food is often harvested before it’s truly ripened to extend its shelf life. When you eat food from your garden at home, you can pick it when the food is really ripe and you’re able to experience a new level of flavor.
If you enjoy specific flavors in vegetables or fruits, you’ll find those flavors are magnified when you eat homegrown produce. Tomatoes will be sweeter, peppers will have more intense layers of flavor and berries will be juicer.
Once you’ve tasted produce from your own tower garden, you’ll never be satisfied with produce from the grocery store again. If you grow more food than you can eat in a short time, you can freeze, can, or dry it in order to preserve those fresh flavors.
Is the Plastic in a Tower Garden Safe?
One of the greatest concerns people have with the idea of a tower garden is that it’s made from plastic. As you may already know, plastic can leach chemicals into surrounding water and soil if gets heated.
Naturally, you don’t want your food to contain extra chemicals that are dangerous or can cause illness. The good news is that this type of garden is treated with a UV protector that helps keep the plastic from breaking down.
You can rest assured that your garden will grow healthy produce unaffected by chemicals that leach from the plastic because of this protection. The plastic also helps keep the roots of your plants cool and prevents the growth of algae.
Can Children Enjoy a Tower Garden?
One of the best ways you can entice children to eat healthy foods is to allow them to have a role in growing it. Tower gardens are wonderful ways to introduce children to the world of food production.
Many kids who grow up in urban areas have no idea where food really comes from. They simply see it at the store and some even believe that it’s made in factories.
A tower garden is perfect for urban areas to give kids who live in a city the ability to see how food is grown and to enjoy the process. It’s a good idea to let kids choose some different varieties to grow and watch what happens.
This is a great way to bring healthier foods to your table and give your children an education about safe and environmentally responsible food production.
Tower Gardening Is Healthy Gardening
Now that you understand some basics about a tower garden, it’s important to also understand the health benefits for you and your family. Many people don’t consume enough fruits and vegetables. This is sometimes because of the cost, but it’s also about the flavor.
When you grow your own food, you’ll be saving money and you’ll have foods that are better in flavor. You’ll spend less time and energy on grocery shopping and more time enjoying food that grows outside your back door.
You’ll also be able to enjoy food that’s free from toxins. Many researchers suggest that pesticides, herbicides, and chemical fertilizers can cause problems with inflammation, weight gain, cancer, and auto-immune diseases.
When you grow your own food, you can eliminate anything that you don’t feel is safe. The fertilizer used for this system comes from minerals, rather than harsh chemicals that can be dangerous.
The time that it takes food to travel from a large farm to a grocery store produce section is time for the nutrition to dwindle. When you eat fresh food from your garden, you’re getting more vitamins and minerals than supermarket produce provides.
You may have thought you could never have a garden because of limited space or the inability to bring in soil, but a tower garden makes it possible to have a garden in any area that receives sunlight. You can also add a grow light if your patio doesn’t get at least four hours of sun each day.
A tower garden is a cost effective way to enjoy fresh produce throughout the year. You’ll enjoy the ease of use, the speed of growth, the fresh flavor and the nutritional quality of the foods you eat.