Gardening. It brings many of us a lot of joy (and a fair amount of pain.) But tending to this Spring’s new seedlings and flowers doesn’t have to (literally) be a pain in the neck, butt, back, knees or shoulder. It could be a workout that helps you gain flexibility, strength and balance just by knowing how to do it well. Instead of “getting through” yard work, why not enjoy it?
Combining the McCall Method with Gardening
There’s one major move you will see throughout these videos that’s essential for enjoying gardening. Bending at the hips. This movement at first may seem a bit daunting but as you gain the ability to do it your strength, flexibility and agility to get around the yard will amaze you!
At first you have to feel the difference between waist bending and hip bending. There’s a huge difference. So practice the feeling between the two. When bending at your hips, there’s a big stretch to the back of your legs. It will take some time for it to become “easy” because of your hip and hamstring limitations (tightness.) After you get the hang of it, you’ll finish a day of gardening not in pain, but stronger and taller – you know ‘a good tired.’
Dragging a wheel barrel becomes a great workout and a lot easier than you think if your body is moving efficiently.
The dos and don’ts about dragging heavy things. Large branches, wheel barrels and even trash cans are easy IF you keep your shoulders square with your hips. DON’T TWIST. The body is a system of levers that allow large objects to be moved efficiently. We are designed for manual labor but when we don’t do it we lose the feel of how to do it so we break down. Don’t use your neck and shoulders. Use your spine and hips. The smallest shifts in how you move do matter and you will feel it!
More heavy lifting in the garden. Using a shovel or a rake, feel your body get stronger. The pivot shift will give you power and control by using your spine and hips as the center of this movement. Instead of a basketball or bat you will use a rake or shovel!
Pulling the weeds. It’s a deep stretch to the groin, hips and hamstrings. It will strengthen your spine and allow your hips to bend with less resistance. It also allows you a way to garden without having to stand. Make sure you follow the directions and go slow with this stretch. It’s hard to feel the correct stretch if you go too fast into the movement. Most people are very tight in the groin area and when you are tight you can’t feel the area. And the ability to ‘feel’ is the centerpiece of all the McCall Method movements. The more you feel the better you move. Take your time on this one.
Tripod chair and gardening. The great thing about using the tripod chair is that you can gain greater movement in your hips while gardening without wearing out as fast as you do when standing and bending. This is a great tool to help you feel what centering “feels like’ in the hips and how the spine and neck can be freed up when working in the garden because your hips are centered.