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Down To Earth Gardening

Exercise for Seniors

Having a green thumb can be very rewarding when you see the beautiful results of all your hard work. But before you plant that first seed, try some general stretching exercises to prepare yourself for the lifts, bends, pulls, and lunges to come.

Gardening

Getting In Shape

Upper Body Twist

Upper body twist:

  1. Stand with your hands on your hips.
  2. Slowly turn your upper body as far as possible to the left for a count of 5.
  3. Turn to the right and hold for a count of 5.
  4. Repeat 10 times.

Upper body stretch:

  1. Stand with your back straight and arms to your sides.
  2. Stretch arms straight out in front of you and hold for a count of 5.
  3. Return arms to sides. Repeat 10 times.
  4. Now, stretch arms straight in back of you until shoulder blades touch. Hold for a count of 5.
  5. Return arms to sides. Repeat 10 times.

Down To Earth Gardening Tips

  • If you must kneel, stand up and stretch frequently to avoid stiffness. Use knee pads or a pillow to absorb the pressure on your knees. Also, lean on your hands so that your arms absorb some of the shock.
  • Make sure the object - like a sack of mulch - is not too heavy to lift. Test its weight by lifting one corner. Roll or push, rather than carry, heavy loads
  • Pull an object by placing your feet apart, bending your knees, and leaning away from the object. Pull by straightening your legs. Always face the object and keep your back straight.

Gardening Equipment

Gardening equipment should suit your size, build, and physical capabilities. If you have arthritis in your hands, use garden tools with enlarged handles. Long handles on garden tools ease the strain on an arthritic back.

Retirement is a wonderful time of life for gardening - and gardening is a great form of exercise. You work so many muscles when doing the tasks of gardening, it truly is a workout in itself. So enjoy the fruits of your labor - not the aches and pains of an out of shape body!

Garden Helper for Pesky Weeds

Full strengh apple cider vinegar poured onto stubborn weeds can kill the weeds without poisoning the soil around them. You can use a diluted vinegar solution (1:8 ratio of vinegar to water) to raise the acidity in your soil for azaleas and rhododendrons to thrive in, and if you dilute that even further and add some sugar to the mixture, you have home made plant food.

Add a few tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to a gallon of water and then transfer it to a spray bottle; you can use this spray to treat black rot and fungus issues on roses, and to fend off aphids.

Note: June 6 is National Gardening Exercise Day.

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