Should You Stretch Before You Garden?

By Stephen T. Sinatra, M.D., F.A.C.C., F.A.C.N., C.N.S., C.B.T.

In gardening, you prep the soil before you plant. But do you prep yourself before gardening?

You should. In sports, athletes stretch and warm-up before going into action. While gardening doesn’t quite rise to the level of sports, it’s a good idea to very gently stretch before you jump into planting, bending, kneeling, weeding, pruning, raking, shoveling, pulling, hosing, and all the assorted activities that a bountiful garden demands.

A bit of pre-garden stretching may help ease muscle tightness and tension and prevent the stresses, strains, and soreness that beset the common gardener. Your back and knees will thank you. 

If you practice yoga, try doing some poses before gardening. Otherwise, simply Google gardening stretching and you’ll find many helpful suggestions, such as this “Gardening for Life” paper written by a team of Washington State University master gardeners. 

I also strongly suggest Earthing (also known as grounding). Earthing can help reduce or eliminate delayed onset muscle soreness that occurs after overdoing any exercise. Earthing refers to sustained bare skin contact with the Earth’s natural surface energy. You can do it either by being barefoot outdoors when you are gardening or sitting or walking barefoot before or after gardening. Here’s an article on health and healing benefits associated with Earthing

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