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Life Enriching Communities Blog

Exercises to Help With Gardening

Posted by Twin Towers on March 15, 2018

exercises to help with gardening By Gary Wells, Wellness Specialist at Twin Towers Senior Living Community

Gardening is considered by some to be a hobby, but gardening is exercise and as any exercise it can be taxing on the body if not properly prepared for. Keeping your body active year-round is the best way to stay ready for gardening and reduce your risk for injuries.

Here are a few exercises to work into your routine that will keep your body as healthy as your garden.

1. Shoulder External Rotation

shoulder rotation for gardeners Good for: Improving range of motion, strengthening rotator cuff muscles & reducing the risk of future shoulder injuries.

Useful in the garden for: Reducing the risk of shoulder strain or of pain that may come from general gardening movements such as raking, sweeping or moving the hose around for watering.

Muscles worked: Deltoids & Trapezius.

  1. Using a resistance band or light weight with the working arm at a 90 degree angle, pull the resistance away from the center of the body with good control. (2-3 seconds per rep)
  2. Maintain 90 degree alignment of the arm from shoulders to elbows and elbows to wrist throughout the full range of motion of the exercise.
  3. Keep elbow close to the torso as you go through each rep.

Recommendation: 3 sets on each arm of 15-20 reps 2-3 times weekly.

Gary’s Expert Tips: Keep your elbow attached to your side and work slowly through the range of motion on this one. You want to make sure you have complete control of the resistance during this movement. If this exercise is new to you, start without equipment. 

2. Reverse Bicep Curls

reverse bicep curl for gardeners Good for: Improving grip and strengthening muscles of the forearm and biceps.

Useful in the garden for: Increasing grip strength for pulling weeds, handling garden tools, lifting pots/planters, digging and watering your garden.

Muscles worked: Biceps & Forearms.

  1. Use a resistance band or light dumbbell, with the arm out and palms facing the ground. Your arms should be fully extended while your feet are shoulder width apart from each other.
  2. While holding the upper arms stationary, curl the weights while squeezing the biceps. Only the forearms should move.
  3. Continue the movement until your hand is at shoulder level. Hold that position for a second as you squeeze the muscle.
  4. Slowly return the resistance to the starting position by only moving the forearms.

Recommendation: 3 sets of 12-15 reps 2-3 times weekly.

Gary’s Expert Tips: Try to keep the elbows close to the torso. The closer the grip the better the contraction will be.  To avoid strain on the shoulders, you may also curl up to a 90 degree angle with the hand stopping at your hip. 

3. Forearm Stretch

forearm stretch for gardenersStretching is a pivotal part of any exercise routine. It sets the foundation for mobility, flexibility, and joint health. Without these 3 components improving your overall strength and muscular endurance is almost impossible. It is very important to stretch the muscles that have been stressed after activity to help maintain longevity in performing those tasks.

Good For: Mobility and flexibility of the fingers, wrist and forearms.

Useful in the garden for: Reducing soreness in arms wrist and fingers so you are ready for your next day gardening.

  1. Extend one arm out in front of the body, palms face away, with the wrist at shoulders height and the fingers pointing up.
  2. With the opposite hand gently pull back the fingers and flex the wrist. Hold for 20-30 seconds.
  3. Extend wrist forward until finger are pointed towards the floor.
  4. With the opposite hand gently pull back the fingers and flex the wrist. Hold for 20-30 seconds.
  5. Switch arms.

Recommendation: 2 sets each arm for 20-30 secs on each hold 3-4 times weekly

Gary’s Expert Tips: Avoid applying too much pressure during this stretch. Gently pull fingers back to keep the wrist safe.

Resistance bands can be purchased in many department stores as well as online. To keep your bands working properly, dust them with baby powder for less friction and to prevent them from tearing.

Wellness Specialists like Gary, are expertly trained to develop workout routines and exercises that are personalized to your goals. The Twin Towers fitness center, The Connection, offers a variety of classes and equipment specifically designed for those aged 50+. The Aquatic Center includes a 75-foot heated pool, aquatic bikes, and a whirlpool. 

Our fitness center is open to the community and memberships are available. For more information on The Connection or Twin Towers, contact us online or give us a call at 513-853-2000.button to download A-Z guide to living and aging the way you want

Topics: Senior Health and Fitness

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