A little warm up prevents gardening aches and pains

If you’re a gardener, this is the time of year your muscles likely start complaining as you bend, dig, plant and haul. The more decades you’ve spent here on the home planet, the louder those complaints!

Spend just a few minutes warming up before heading outside and your body will thank you. Here are some great stretches for gardeners:

Lie on your back, and breathe. Slowly bend your knees, hugging your legs in toward your chest. Breathe in; breathe out. Relax your hips and shoulders. Stay for 3-5 breaths.

Roll over onto your hands and knees. Place your knees under your hips, and your hands under your shoulders.  As you breathe in, slowly relax your belly toward the floor while raising your hips.  Stretching your chest forward, lift your chin slightly. Now breathe out while slowly lifting your back up toward the ceiling, drawing your belly up and letting your chin move in toward your chest. Repeat a few times, breathing fully and moving slowly.

After playing in the dirt for a while, stand up and take a deep breath. Placing your right hand on your waist, slowly lift your left arm up alongside your body. Bend sideways towards your right, and breathe.  Take your time to return to centre. Breathe. Repeat on the other side. This pose allows your back muscles to release from their hunched-over gardening position.

Next, lie down and put your calves up on a low bench. Your back should be completely relaxed on the ground. Breathe in; breathe out. Relax your shoulders. Rest in this pose until your back muscles let go. Roll to your side, and slowly get up.

When you go back to your gardening, know when to stop for the day. Just like a night on the town, you’ll feel better in the morning if you call it quits sooner rather than later.

Catherine Reid is a Registered Yoga Teacher, offering a variety of classes in the Comox Valley. To experience the rich health benefits of yoga, call 250-898-8414 or visit

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