- Author: Bob Niklewicz PT MG
Fall is upon us, but the work continues in the garden. In the spring and summer months, warming up is almost as easy as walking out the door and letting the sun shine on you. Warmup is as simple as walking through the garden and looking at what needs to be done. You are warmed up when you have the urge to unzip a jacket or windbreaker and put down your coffee.
However, nowadays when you go outside, the light might be there but the warmth is lacking, yet your body still needs to warm up. Let's look at the easy way of doing this in cooler weather.
BASIC WARMUP PROTOCOL BEFORE STARTING GARDENING TASKS
Stretching starts at the top by reaching up and forwards over your head as far as you can easily go. Then bring your elbows back behind you as far as you can, stretching the front of your shoulders and chest. Do the motions SLOWLY by breathing in on the way up, then blowing out slowly through pursed lips while moving elbows back. Take 5-10 seconds to go through the motions ending with arms behind you. Do 3 reps.
Left: Stretching your trunk is done by placing your thumbs and hands just above belt level and slowly leaning backwards over your hands (DO NOT bend your head backwards while you do the ex.). Hold for 5-10 seconds and return to upright posture. Repeat 3 times. Left Middle: Hold a stick or long tool, slowly twisted as far as you can to the right then to the left taking 10 seconds to complete the motions. Repeat 3 times. Middle Right: Do a partial squat by going down slowly ONLY as far as you can comfortably go. Hold for 3-5 seconds then return to standing. Repeat 3x's. Right: Stand with your feet apart, shift your weight sideways stretching slowly the inside of your thighs. Hold 5-10 sec. at the end of each motion. Repeat 3x's each leg.
Just like a car engine that goes from a cold start to full speed can be damage the motor and transmission, your body needs a little warmth to lubricate the body. Increasing the flow of blood to warm the muscles and tendons keeps the body moving easier. As a physical therapist would say, “use them or lose them.” Your muscles need to be warm for flexibility to last longer. It is not hard to do; just don't spill your coffee while doing them.
Napa Master Gardeners are available to answer garden questions by email: email@example.com. or phone at 707-253-4143. Volunteers will get back to you after they research answers to your questions.
Visit our website: napamg.ucanr.edu to find answers to all of your horticultural questions.
Photos by: Olga Morham
Demonstrations by: Dr. Bob Niklewicz PT DHSc