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May 24, 2017

Improving flexibility for pain-free gardening

Even everyday activities can be hard on the body, which is why improving flexibility is a proactive way to prevent some of life’s aches and pains. In the summer, gardening can leave you feeling stiff and sore! But a simple series of stretches just a few minutes a day can increase your body’s flexibility and mobility. 

Flexibility is key for everyone

Being flexible is a sign of wellbeing at any age, but it’s particularly important when you get older because being in better shape makes you more independent.  How does being more flexible affect your body? It helps you bend and extend smoothly without overtaxing or cracking your joints. When your body is flexible, your muscles are looser and more elastic, which makes all your everyday actions easier (including playing in the garden!). 

Stretching is the best way to improve flexibility, warm up for exercise, and recover after physical activity. It also helps prevent the aches and pains that can come from being active and is a great way to relax and regain a feeling of overall wellbeing. 

Our stretching routine for getting more flexible

Duration: About 10 minutes

Reps: 10 to 15 reps per exercise. Repeat 3 times.

Stretch 1: Cat and cow 

Start by getting on your hands and knees on a comfortable mat. Inhale as you drop your belly towards the mat while lifting your chin up (cow pose). When you exhale, push into your hands and draw your belly into your spine, rounding your back and tucking your chin in toward your belly button (cat pose). Inhale and repeat the cycle.

  •     Muscles used: back muscles (latissimus dorsi, trapezius, rhomboids, multifidus, erector spinae)

Stretch 2: Hip flexors

Lay on your back and pull one knee toward your chest with your other leg extended and relaxed. Hold for 30 seconds. Switch sides and repeat.

  •     Muscles used: hip flexors

Stretch 3: Calf wall stretch

Stand facing a wall with one foot forward and the other extended back, keeping your heel on the ground. Keep your torso straight and alternate between sides.

  •     Muscles used: calves (gastrocnemius)

This flexibility routine will help increase the range of motion and flexibility of your joints and improve your mobility.  You'll be all set to dive into your garden and stay injury free!

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