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6 Ways to Garden for Life!
Garden photo by Unsplash
“Gardening adds years to your life and life to your years.”
I’m an enthusiastic amateur gardener! It makes me feel happy and alive to watch my plants attract wildlife.
Interestingly enough, gardening helps you feel good in your mind and body. People who garden tend to be active in later years and retain their strength and balance. It’s one of the best types of gentle exercise!
I love gardening most of all because it’s a great option to help you live at home for a lifetime!
You don’t have to be an experienced, master grower with a massive amount of land to reap the benefits of gardening. Whether you’ve got a couple of plants or a quarter acre, you’ll benefit from six tips to help you garden for life!
1) Warm Up Those Muscles!
I just mentioned that gardening is a form of exercise! Let’s not pull any muscles today! Before heading outside, stretch those major body muscle groups: back, shoulders, chest, legs, and glutes. If you need some stretching inspo, check out this 3 and ½ minute video from Go4Life!
2) Wear the Right Clothing!
Mother Nature invented some gnarly looking plants! Sometimes the thorn bushes and trees at my place remind me of the hellscape in my nightmares!
Long sleeved shirt by J. Crew
To properly protect my skin from scratches and too much sun, I wear light-weighted clothing with long sleeves and pants. I also wear a wide-brimmed hat to keep those sun spots away from my face!
Some people tell me, “I don’t want to wear long sleeves because I’ll sweat more.”
Well, guess what? In Missouri and Kansas, you’re going to sweat a lot regardless of what you’re wearing! Check out athletic long sleeved clothing that wicks away moisture from the skin. This type of clothing seems to be ubiquitous at every large retailer!
Lastly, keep in mind that gardening before 10 A.M. and after 2 P.M. helps you avoid the strongest sunshine! You’ll stay cooler gardening early in the morning or late in the evening.
3) Water, water everywhere!
Sip water before, during, and after gardening! Dehydration is super sneaky, especially in warmer weather! I’m a coffee drinker in the morning, but the problem is the caffeine makes me lose water faster when I’m gardening in the sun!
I make sure I have my 30 oz water container on hand when working outside. I try to take sips every 15-30 minutes to replace the water I’m losing through this type of exercise.
Sorry to gross you out, but I need to share a great tip! A good way to see that you’re getting enough water is to look at the color of your urine when you use the bathroom. If your urine is clear to light yellow, congratulations! You’re drinking enough water!
If the urine is a dark yellow, you better drink, drink, drink!
Bonus: My water breaks allow me to rest my body at the same time! Resting the body is equally as important as keeping it active.
I’m not getting an injury from a repetitive gardening task!
4) Choose Ergonomic Tools
Ergonomic garden tools by Radius Garden
Although gardening is exercise, we don’t want to work TOO HARD! Use gardening tools with long, curved handles for easier grip and leverage. These types of tools will prevent injuries, like wrist strain.
You can find ergonomic tools at most stores and online shopping. If the budget is tight, see if you can build up the handles on your existing tools using materials like foam tubing or an old t-shirt. It’s amazing how a little change to the handle can improve your ability to grip the tool!
5) Dust off that Radio Flyer!
Use a wagon to carry your equipment around. Carrying around a lot of tools and plants at once is hard no matter how big of a garden you’ve got! Work smarter, not harder, and put your equipment in a wagon.
Wagons also help you keep track of your tools better. Just place the tool you’re not using inside the wagon and you won’t have any stragglers!
6) Working on the Knees?
Kneeler stool photo by Gardeners.com
It doesn’t matter what your age is, gardening on your knees can be rough! Knee pads, chair cushions, and foam pads can protect those bony prominences from rocks and hard surfaces.
Need a little more help getting up and down from the ground? Try using a kneeler stool! These stools are typically double sided where you can kneel and sit on it depending on if it’s right side up or upside down. The handles are mounted on either side for your hands to push against. It’s a nifty invention!
Have you considered other knee-saving solutions? Raised beds or container gardening allows you to bend less and work in a sitting or standing position. You can create raised beds between one foot or as high as your waist! Instead of spending a lot of money constructing new raised beds, I use outdoor furniture to raise certain plants up higher for me to easily trim.
Raised garden bed photo by DIY Network
Vertical gardening works the same way, although you may be working with specific types of plants that like to creep upwards, like cucumber and melons. I’ve seen other people use material like posts or fencing to help plants climb while they grow. It seems as though plants can be pretty determined and will climb almost anything. You don’t need to garden a lot of different types of plants to get great exercise!
It doesn’t matter if you garden two or 22 plants, gardening is excellent for your health! Gardening maintains the physical fitness you need to stay at home for a lifetime! You don’t need intense exercise programs to get the same benefits! Gardening is the right amount of work for me!
Share your tips on how you make gardening easier in the comments below or on our social media! We love hearing your stories on how gardening has impacted your life. You never know, your experience may help someone else in a positive way!