March 19, 2007



It seems that in our enthusiasm, we gardeners often don't know our own limits until it is too late. I know I'm not a Spring chicken but you'd think I would know better than to lift things that are too heavy and pull the muscles in my shoulders. Wrong. Or that the many miles I put on my old feet would sooner or later catch up with me in the form of Plantar Faciitis, or heel spurs. We never miss the water until the well runs dry as my old Grandpappy used to say. I've been sidelined for two seasons due to injury and now I respect my body more by taking preventive measures.

Gardeners do a lot of twisting, bending, turning and reaching that can lead to injury or soreness especially if they don't do warm-ups and stretches. Stretching for 15 minutes will get you off to a good start.

Better Homes and Gardens March issue has a feature on SPRING TRAINING FOR GARDENERS ( bhg.comfitness ) that cautions to " Pull weeds, not muscles . " Veronica D'Orazio, gardener and author of Gardener's Yoga, draws on five simple stretches that target the muscles most affected by routine gardening chores -back, shoulders, neck and hips.

Making exercise a part of my year-round routine has made all the difference. Even us old birds when properly prepared for the hard work that gardening entails, can put in a lot of hours. I hope that I've also inherited my Aunt Nell's genes. She was well into her nineties and still tended her home and garden.

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