A gym in your own garden
Exercise doesn’t have to be dull, and it definitely doesn’t have to take place in a dingy gym or dark basement. A bright summer day can be enough to motivate even the laziest of us to exercise and you don’t even have to leave the garden to have a good workout.
By combining household chores with a workout, busy people can save time. Exercising outdoors can relieve stress and parents with young children can get their workout done while supervising the children playing in the garden.
Gardening itself can provide a good workout. By combining strenuous tasks with less strenuous ones, productivity can increase and different areas of the body can be exercised in a semi-structured way. Raking the lawn, digging the flowerbeds, pruning the hedges and mowing the lawn are all good ways of exercising the shoulders and arms, and you’ll find that carrying buckets of waste, jogging while pushing a wheelbarrow and moving items such as rocks will help to elevate the heart rate, while also increasing both your upper and lower body strength. Climbing up and down ladders, squatting while planting seedlings and scrubbing the decking are other great ways to exercise the legs.
Set aside 60 to 90 minutes. Make a list of the tasks that need to be done and put together a routine that will give you a good workout. Don’t forget to do some stretching and lumbering up first. Work on increasing your range of motion while carrying out the activities, try to rake and dig on both sides and carry two buckets at a time to ensure an even workout. Always lift with your legs rather than your back. When your time is up, walk or jog up and down the garden to admire your handiwork, to shake out the legs and to return the heart rate to normal.
The garden is a great place for circuit training. A flat lawn provides a soft surface for lunges and squats. Established trees or sturdy trellises can be used for chin-ups. Garden benches can be used for chair dips. Decking can be used for step-ups, and sleepers or kerbs are great for balance exercises.
Adding skipping, star jumps or burpees to your routine will provide an aerobic challenge. Resistance can be increased by adding buckets of soil. As you progress, outdoor gym equipment, which can blend into your garden, can be purchased. Cross trainers, sit-up boards, rowing machines and monkey bars are just some of the items commercially available for this purpose.
Trampolining is one of the most fun ways to exercise. Investing in a trampoline for your garden is not only a great way to keep your children active, but it is also a good way for adults to maintain fitness, strength, core stability and balance. By sinking the trampoline so that the bed is a lawn level, it can blend into the surroundings in even the smallest garden. Find more information on some of the trampolines available.
The tranquility of a beautiful garden also provides the ideal environment for yoga or pilates, and if your garden is big enough you can carry out regular rounders or tennis games with your friends and family.
Image credits : http://www.flickr.com/photos/mariachily/4997005260/