As winter's frosty grip loosens and our gardens burst forth with vibrant colours and fragrant blossoms, it's the perfect time to shed our winter lethargy and embark on a thrilling fitness adventure right in our own gardens. Why toil away on a treadmill when you can turn your gardening into an exciting game?
Gardening is a deeply rewarding activity, both mentally and physically. It offers therapeutic benefits, enhances muscular & cardiovascular capabilities and is adaptable to people of all ages and abilities. What's more, gardening can be a social endeavour, uniting families, friends, and gardening groups to create and maintain spaces to enjoy. With the ever-changing nature of gardens, motivation and commitment remain high - key factors in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
But what if you could make gardening your preferred workout of choice? Meet Jasmine Reddin, a biomechanics personal trainer based in Didcot. Her clients, who hail from diverse backgrounds, share one common trait: they dislike traditional exercise routines. So how does she manage to help them achieve their fitness goals and create enjoyable, sustainable fitness programs? The answer lies in taking their favourite activities or desired improvements and crafting exercise routines that mimic the biomechanics of those movements, making workouts feel like fun and lighthearted endeavours. The results are impressive: reduced pain, increased energy, weight management, greater self-confidence and longevity.
Jasmine shares her top exercises tailored for gardening enthusiasts who wish to do more or simply keep at it for longer:
- Bucket Challenge: Load, lift and unload buckets while varying the load, speed and number of trips. Get creative by lifting over your head or aiming for a bucket with weeds and clippings.
- Wheelbarrow Drag Race: Challenge your strength and speed by pulling or pushing a fully laden wheelbarrow from one garden bed to the composter or garden waste bin. Experiment with different speeds, gradients and loads to build skills and confidence.
- Digging Drill: Test your endurance and strength by measuring how many digs you can complete in a minute. Switching hands and feet combinations builds agility and helps when fatigue sets in.
- Raking Workout: Work on your shoulder and hip muscles. For an added twist, use the rake like a punting pole and enjoy a garden vault. Use the rake from a different starting point, twist your waist, bend the knees.
- Planting Lunges: Incorporate lunges and squats each time you plant something new.
- Weeding Deadlift: Strengthen your back and legs with this movement that mimics the deadlift. Start and finish from a different place, using turns and bends to increase mobility.
- Getting Up Gracefully: Practise getting up from kneeling positions, improving mobility and flexibility with Jasmine's specialised exercises.
- Lawnmower Challenge: Even if you're not a runner, pushing a lawnmower while walking offers valuable skill development for runners. Hover mowers provide speed, while heavier mowers add resistance for a full-body workout.
- Pruning and Shearing: Engage your upper body and core muscles by varying the heights and applying intention when cutting, adding load to your movements.
You don't need a plethora of fitness equipment to get a fantastic workout in your garden. Jasmine works with her clients using minimal equipment and no exercise machines, making workouts both accessible and enjoyable. Her garden training area and studio are open year-round for 1:1 sessions or for bringing friends along to share the experience.
By incorporating these playful exercises into your gardening routine, you'll not only cultivate a beautiful garden but also enjoy a fitness regimen that feels more like fun than work. As spring unfolds in Oxfordshire, make the most of it by getting active in your garden and celebrating your achievements with a refreshing glass of lemonade amid your flourishing oasis. Embrace the joy of gardening games this spring!
Cathy Cornish, owner of Wild to Wonderful Gardens, has enjoyed gardening for over 20 years and relishes the chance to join her gardening team in their customers’ gardens: “Not only is gardening a fantastic and fun way of keeping fit, there is nothing quite like being outside in the fresh air with plants, birds and wildlife around you. It’s even more fun if there is a group of you to share the experience (and put the world to rights!). So good for your mental & physical health and your garden looks tidier afterwards too!”
Wild to Wonderful Gardens are based near Didcot and can be contacted by email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone on 01235 835664. Or follow them on Facebook www.facebook.com/wildtowonderful of garden tips and inspiration