Getting Fit in the Garden

Winter is a season of hibernation.  We typically pack on a few pounds, snuggle up
under fuzzy blankets on the couch, and wait for spring to arrive.  Time is often spent perusing design magazines
and catalogues or dreaming of how our gardens will look as they begin to come
alive.  This year, I sought to change
that routine a bit.

Like many others, I now sport a new fashion accessory, a
device that counts my steps, calculates my calories burned and tells me how
many flights of stairs I have climbed. 
Achieving my goal of 10,000 steps a day is no problem during prime
gardening season.  I typically double
that number on any given weekend day. 
Proof that a garden workout is a good one!
Achieving that goal is a bigger challenge in the winter
months, but I have done fairly well.  Of
course I can go to the gym and hop on treadmill or take a spinning class to get
in my steps, which I do on a regular basis. 
I could also do a body pump class to keep my muscles strong.  But I say, why bother?  I have all the strength training equipment I
need in the garden. 

Those who don’t garden, may think of the activity as wimpy.
How hard is it to pull a few weeds or dig a hole for a plant?  Those who garden know that it can be quite
the workout.  For example, I recently had
a tree taken down.  I had someone saw it
in to large pieces about 24 inches long and 18 inches in diameter; that’s when
the heavy lifting began.  For hours I did
squats and lifted large logs into the wheelbarrow.  Then I pushed the heavy wheelbarrow to a
staging area where I’ll later split the logs into firewood-sized pieces.  Who needs weight lifting equipment when you
have trees to manage?

The result of my wood moving workout.

In addition to the large pieces of wood, the men who took
down the tree left a large pile of wood chips for me to use.  You guessed it; another garden workout in the
making. With pitchfork in hand, I tested my arm and back strength by filling up
the wheelbarrow with wood chips and then dumping load after load onto my
woodland trail.  Once the piles of wood
chips were deposited along the path, I raked them into an even layer, creating
a lovely and long-wearing, natural carpet.

The woodland trail covered in a carpet of wood chips.

A couple other strength training workouts include carrying
buckets of water to the far ends of my 1.5 acre garden where the hose won’t
reach, digging holes through clay soil, and lifting rocks out of the way when
they are located where I want to place a plant. 
I am sure you can think of many more ways to get in shape in the
garden.  So, the next time you are
sitting on your couch pondering the desire to get more fit, take a look
outside.  I can guarantee there’s a
garden workout just waiting for you. 


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