It’s gardening (and backache) time

It is springtime and people are getting out into their gardens, preparing soil, digging, planting, weeding, mowing, and all sort of other activities. After winter inactivity some of us just might ache after a day’s work outside. Especially some of us older folks. As one person I know said once after a morning of moving and lifting stone, “I moved muscles I didn’t know I had.” 

After day of laboring in the garden, most will tend to lean back into the sofa or easy chair and relax those sore muscles. The thing about that is when you get back up and walk you are even stiffer and sorer more than when you were working. The trick is to stay active until you have loosened up enough to prevent the stiffness from setting in.

You probably wouldn’t feel like going to the gym after all that lawn labor. More power to you if you do. Aerobic probably wouldn’t help nor would lifting weights. Some stretching exercises certainly could. So could doing some tai chi. I can tell you why; because tai chi moves muscle that we don’t usually use in day to day activities. Muscles that we need to activate just as much as any other muscles; tendons and ligaments for that matter. In fact that soreness we feel could be as much or more in our connective tissues than only muscles.

The trick to helping to alleviate the stiffness and soreness is to loosen and stretch gently. This is what tai chi movements provide. They release tension in overly tired regions of the body. When you lift and haul and bend over and such, you are tensing muscles and tendons and joints and ligaments and so on. In tai chi you’re spiraling, loosening, stretching, coaxing things to let go where they are stuck. You’re allowing the blood to flow through and the muscles et. al to release tension. You’re not forcing them or overworking them. Plus you’re moving parts that aren’t included in your daily routine. Those parts that you do happen to use in gardening and other yard work. So if you have sore muscles that you didn’t know you had try a little tai chi to bring them back in alignment. It will get you back in shape for the next time you’re in the garden. 


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