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Gardening without pain

Gardening without pain by exercising well

Gardening is good for the earth and your well-being.  However, pain and fatigue can limit your enjoyment of this healthy type of physical activity.  Fortunately, as a gardener, you already know how everything in nature thrives.  Applying these principles of thriving to your body is the way to garden without pain. In this article, I'll share how to optimize movements, mindsets, and motivation to enjoy gardening (and more) with less strain and more sustainability.  


Movements for gardening without pain


Your garden’s thriving starts with its healthy root system.  The roots of the plants provide stability and nourishment so they can grow strong.  These roots dont grow overnight.  They grow strong and well when you provide the right conditions and add a dose of patience, a trust this natural process is happening below the soil, even though you can't see it.  


The muscle memory you have for movements needed for gardening, as well as everything you do in daily life, determines if that movement is done with strain or strength.  Restoring the muscle memory for the three principles of moving well is the way to have strong roots of movements that allow you to garden without pain.  


These three principles for moving well grow from restoring muscle memory for putting your body in its natural alignment, using your core to support your center, and hinging through your arms and legs.  This way you move with the greatest strength and least strain.  Below is a video to learn how to do these three steps for moving well. 



Foundations for moving well


Practicing these movements regularly provides the right conditions for your mobility strength and stamina to grow. It takes a dose of patience and trust in the process of helping your brain and body work together for you to move well.  


Mindsets for gardening without pain


If your plants are showing signs they are not thriving, you mindfully notice the signals and take action to give them what they need.  When they show signs of thriving, you know what you did was the right thing to do to help them grow strong.  This mindset of “what can I do to help” is the way to successful gardening. It turns out this mindset works for your body too. 


If your mindset is “no pain no gain”, you are likely to push through pain when gardening.  Pain is a signal from the body and brain that there is some inflammation and injury in need of your attention. Pushing through pain tells your brain you didn't get the signal. Your brain then needs to send more pain signals to get your attention, perpetuating chronic pain. Pushing through pain causes more inflammation in your body.  Now your body has more work to do to recover from gardening to reduce pain.  


If your mindset is “pain is a sign something needs to change”, you listen to the pain mindfully. Building on the skills of moving well, you can pause, go through those three steps, and move in a less straining way.  If that takes care of the pain, you know you can garden without pain.  If it does not take care of the pain, however, your body likely needs some recovery movement to help reduce that inflammation. Mindful stretching in a way that is pain-reducing, not pain-producing, is a tremendous resource for lowering inflammation and getting out of the stress state caused by physical pain. 


The key is the mindset of listening to your body and responding to pain with the “what can I do to help” is the way to thrive not only in your garden but in all of life. 


The type of motivation for gardening without pain


Each season your garden needs something different from you so it thrives.  Adjusting what you are doing to match the season is a basic skill of having a thriving garden. 


Your body is the same way.  If during the seasons off from gardening, do not move as much, that first day out would no doubt be painful.  The body is a use-it-to-keep-it system.  When you are using your skills of strength, stamina, and mobility, you keep them.  When you are not using them as much, your body loses those skills. This loss is invisible, not felt until you go to use those skills again.  You know you should exercise in the offseason, but since “should” is a type of external motivation, your motivation is likely as sustainable as your annuals.


When exercising is motivated by your love of gardening, the joy you get from it, and the care you have for your body and your plants, you have the seeds of perineal motivation.   It is fueled by what you love and value in life, which makes it sustainable.  Growing your motivation to have a year-round exercise plan that matches what your body needs in each season means you get to enjoy gardening without pain each season of the year. 



Ready to do what you love with more ease, confidence, and sustainability? This is what it means to be Exercising Well. Click the button below to learn how Exercising Well can help.





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