It’s been a busy summer and despite low temperatures and lots of rain earlier in June and July, our gardens are drying out quickly. At London Road Station, we are dependent on water butts and rain water so we spend a lot of time watering.
I’ve been aware that I’ve let all my exercise routines slip this summer because I’ve told myself being in the garden is just as good and I don’t have time to go to the gym or pool. As we come to the middle of August, I’m not so sure that ‘just’ gardening is enough … I’m starting to feel the strain of the watering can. In my own garden, I’ve reverted to using mains water and the hose. This is not good on so many levels, so this morning, as I waited the 30 seconds it takes to fill the 10 litre watering can, I started doing some of the exercises from the NHS 10 minute workouts. I quickly felt better and the garden got watered without using mains water – how virtuous is that!
So here’s my little routine that I’m going to try to adapt to gardening at London Road Station. All the exercises below can be done while waiting 30 seconds for the watering-can to fill. If you see a mad lady on the platform, doing squats while carrying watering cans, you’ll know what’s going on. I will try to be discrete …
Obviously different exercises suit different levels of fitness. The ones below are mostly from NHS Choices site, but please be aware of what works for you and don’t strain.
3 minute brisk walk
NHS Choices has ‘3-minute March on the spot’ as the first warm-up exercise: I’m going to replace this with the ‘3-minute brisk walk and garden check’: run down the stairs, out the back door, through my garden chicane, down the lane, up the station steps, into the edible plot, back out again, along the platform to check the planters, back via the shady plot checking the tree pits on the way. Ideally, I’ll try not to stop to deadhead and remove yellow leaves, but at least, this combines exercise with my usual garden recce.
Water can 1 – Heel digs 1 (30 in 30 seconds)
Move each leg forward alternately, tapping your heel on the ground. Keep your supporting leg slightly bent. Punch arms out with each heel dig.
Water can 2 – Heel digs 2 (30 in 30 seconds)
Water can 3 – Knee lifts (30 in 30 seconds)
Standing, bring alternate knees to touch the opposite hand. Keep your supporting leg slightly bent.
Water can 4 – Shoulder rolls (2 sets of 10 repetitions)
March on the spot, roll shoulders 5 times forward and 5 times backwards, with arms loose at your sides. Repeat.
Water can 5 – Knee bends (10 repetitions)
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and arms/hands outstretched. Bend knees to lower yourself by 10 cm. Come up and repeat.
Other watering can exercises
Step back on your right leg and swing both arms forward in the air. Repeat with the opposite leg. Repeat 15 times, pause and do again (or as long as it takes to fill the watering can).
Stand at arm’s length from a wall. Stretch out your arms and place your hands on the wall at chest height, a shoulder-width apart. Bend your arms to lower your body towards the wall. Let your heels come off the floor and keep your body straight. Repeat 15 times or more.
Stand straight, but avoid locking your knees. Move onto your toes, lifting heels off the ground and slowly lower your heels onto the ground again. Repeat 15-30 times. To make this more challenging, you can do it with two full watering cans, one in each hand, but make sure the weight of the watering cans is taken by your abdominal muscles and shoulder blades.
Legs apart, hands on hips, lean back slightly and let your torso rotate. Then reverse direction.
Stand with legs shoulder-length apart, hands on hips. Raise your right arm, bring right knee up, out to the side and pull your arm down to meet your raised knee. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aKFVZu_4Lq4