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How Does Your Garden Grow
by Wendy Okkema
09/29/06
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The sun is shining, the birds are singing, the flowers are beginning to bloom. Spring is such a beautiful time of year. Our hibernation is over and weíre ready to tackle the flower beds outside. Our enthusiasm however can soon become our worst enemy. Digging up flower beds and raking leaves requires the use of muscles that most have not called on all winter. It is imperative that we stretch our bodies before and after our gardening.

I am a personal trainer and the following exercises are just a few that I do myself and recommend to all of my clients:

Arms:
With arms extended overhead and palms together, stretch arms upward and slightly backwards. Breath in as you stretch upward, holding the stretch for 5-8 seconds. This is a great stretch for the muscles of the outer portions of the arms, shoulders, and ribs. It can be done anytime and any place to relieve tension and create a feeling of relaxation and well-being.

To stretch your shoulder and middle of upper back, gently pull your elbow across your chest toward your opposite shoulder. Hold stretch for 10 seconds if possible.

Tummy:
Lie on your back, legs straight, arms at sides. Slowly bring your knees up toward your chest; place your hands behind kneecaps, on back of thighs. Gently pull knees closer to chest; hold for 60 seconds if possible. Slowly release and straighten and lower legs to the ground. This exercise is called a tummy curl.

For a tummy lift, get on your hands and knees, keeping palms flat and fingers pointing forward. Relax your stomach muscles and exhale deeply. While exhaling, round your back and lift your stomach as high as you can, tightly contract the muscles. Then inhale while you relax your stomach and straighten your back. Return to starting position. Repeat 5 times.

Legs:
Backward Lean: Stand in a forward lean, place your weight on your left leg, bend left knee and lean back onto your left leg. Keep your right leg straight, flex right foot and bring the toes up toward your face. Place hands on the thing of your bent left leg for balance, thrust your butt out, hold for 10 seconds if possible. Repeat the exercise for the opposite leg.

If you do attempt any of these stretches, please remember that if it hurts donít do it. Also, itís always a must to consult your Doctor or Healthcare Professional before incorporating any new exercises or stretches into your routine.

Start your yard work with a steady as she goes attitude. Take it slow, watch your body position when planting and raking. Youíll have a better shot at avoiding injury and enjoying the fruits of your labor. Itís interesting to me that when this season finally comes, we rush through the gardening so quickly that we donít enjoy the whole process. The privilege of just being alive and enjoying the sun on your face, the enjoyment of introducing color into your garden or the pleasure of decorating your outside sitting area.

DONíT look at this time of year as more work, DO look at it for what it is, a time of new growth outside and within. I like to think of different areas in my life as flower beds. Each one of us needs to take care of issues that for one reason or another we have not addressed in some time. For some it may be looking after your body or it may be an addiction. Spring is a time that rejuvenates us, take advantage of the vitamin D that comes from the sun. Procrastinate no longer. Rake the leaves off your flower bed, maintain it, get it looking like a flower bed again. Get your body, your issue tended to.

Ephesians 5(15-17) Be very careful then how you live - not unwise, but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the Lords will is

The next stage in beautifying your flower bed is to add beautiful plants. The beauty is to then be savored. What is it in your life that you need to savor and appreciate so much more? Maybe itís your family. We get used to having them around. Often we feel we are always weeding and only see the work needed to keep up with our flower beds (our families). We can miss seeing the joy that can come from their silliness or their habits (good or bad).

1Timothy 5(16-18) Be joyful always, pray continually and give thanks in all circumstances, for this is Godís will for you in Christ Jesus.

Be thankful for these things, realize that all flower beds need to be weeded once in a while, but most of the time they are here to be enjoyed. Donít let this spring and summer go by without taking full advantage of the positive energy that comes so graciously and naturally with this season. Savor the colors, the breeze, the sun and your loved ones. For life itself is but a short season. Drink in your blessings and always look at your glass as half full instead of half empty. Pass this onto your children, leave them a legacy of thankfulness. Colossians 2(5-15) ...And whatever you do whether in work or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

Have yourself a great summer!!






If you died today, are you absolutely certain that you would go to heaven? You can be! TRUST JESUS NOW

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