This blog is about growing tropical-looking plants in the Phoenix, Arizona area

February 21, 2016

Using your garden for physical therapy

Although gardening doesn't exactly qualify as an "extreme sport", it's what I have been adding to my exercise program for years. It's a wonderful, private place to be. And if you're thinking about doing something like this, I strongly recommend it. Over the years I've added more stuff, but just the garden can give some wonderful therapy both for the body and also for the mind. Here is what works for me:

• A private space. This isn't something that I'm comfortable doing in public, even though I'm not really a terribly shy person. It's just that doing this kind of stuff takes focus. It's all about stretching, and moving. You aren't showing off how strong you are, or how fast you can run. This is a very personal thing. I share this with my dog, but that's all.

• Physical therapy toys. Yeah, I call them toys. I try new stuff all of the time. As you can see, I have a nice thick yoga mat, with a pillow to support my big old head. I also have a yoga strap, a foam roller, a roller with handles, a softball, and various other things that I have learned to use to help loosen up sore muscles. I stack everything up on the chair just to keep them out of the way (and because if I leave the yoga mat on the ground, cats pee on it at night!).

• Entertainment. I'm going to be listening to one of my audiobooks that I have on my iPhone today. Some days I listen to music, or play videos. No, not so loud that I'm disturbing the neighbors. I do this in the morning, so I keep it down. Besides, who needs to listen to a blaring audiobook?

I can pretty much watch the time moving by watching the shadows (I've lived in this house for over twenty years), and I also have a timer on my phone so I keep these sessions under an hour - usually about a half hour.

Oh yeah, and don't forget that just going around the garden and doing some trimming counts as physical therapy, too. If someone has told you to go be in a sterile environment, staring at walls and trying to stretch your muscles, tell them that you'd rather not. And go to your garden!
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