Tuesday, June 5, 2012
The Strawberry Stretch, Lunge, Squat and Twist
The strawberries and peas are giving me a workout – literally. It takes nearly two hours a day to search for and harvest the little red and green nutritional powerhouses. Visions of farmers bending over a plant and picking the ripe fruit come to mind, right? In reality, that’s only one small part of the gyrations the body goes through when picking strawberries. The berries are at ground level and there are hundreds of them to pick. Other ground level crops are typically vining crops that grow larger fruit; thus, less to pick. Think squash and cucumbers. Root crops are a whole other story. Ground level picking for an hour goes something like this: After the back starts to scream hey-stop-that-bending thing, more strategic moves take over. First it’s the squat that can be endured for about 15 minutes of down….hold….up….step right…. Repeat. Then the lunge takes over and while in the lunge, a little stretching helps out. While in that lunge and stretch, now gently twist and turn your body. Yup – a yoga class in the backyard. By the time the berry patch is picked, the peas await. They are a blessing because most can be picked from the standing position. Just a couple more squats to finish up the workout will get me through the pea patch. The garden can be a wonderful activity to keep you moving and healthy. For three to four hours a day, my garden has me lifting, pulling, pushing, sliding, turning, throwing and walking along with the bending, squatting, stretching and twisting. My regular exercise has fallen to the wayside and I thought for sure the garden would suffice as exercise and it does for staying active and moving. But for improving fitness, I’ll need to elevate my heart rate according to this interesting post from Vreeland Clinic in Vermont, Activity or Exercise, Do You Know the Difference? Any movement is good, in my opinion. Dr. Kevin O'Neil agrees in this article on The Benefits of Movement. My dear old 81-year old dad is living proof of staying young by staying active. He swears he’s still here today because he won’t stop moving. His daily routine of tending to race horses has him also doing lifting, pulling, twisting, pushing and throwing, but at a little heavier weight. He’s such an inspiration. I think I’ll head out to the garden now for a little yoga.