If gardening is a regular part of your exercise routine, consider doing some stretching before and/or after each session. Just like any physical activity, engaging in strenuous activity without the proper warmup can lead to muscle strain and injury. When warming up, think about the main muscle groups you’ll be exercising while working in the garden. Here are a few specific stretches we can suggest to get you primed for a session of gardening

1. Cat/Camel
This is a gentle way to mobilize the back and reduce post gardening stiffness

2. Bird Dogs
This exercise helps to activate the abdominals and stabilize the lower spine while engaged in a variety of positions.

3. Lateral Stretch
Another abdominal stretch, this will prime your body if you do any side lifting such as carrying a watering can

4. Shoulder Stretch
Your shoulder is the main joint connecting your arms to your core.

5. Wrist Stretches
A lot of gardening work is done with the hands and wrists. These exercises can help stretch and strengthen the joints.

6. Hips / Leg Stretch
When you use your shovel, rake, or fork in the garden, your hips and legs will be some of the primary muscles supporting you. This hip flexor stretch does a great job in getting you ready for a more extensive gardening session

If you are unsure or have any questions about any of these stretches, consult your physician before engaging in any physical activity.

Cover Image by Hsing Wei, used under its Creative Commons license.

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