When I go into my garden with a spade, and dig a bed,
I feel such an exhilaration and health that I discover
that I have been defrauding myself all this time in
letting others do for me what I should have done
with my own hands.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Spring is in the air, the trees are budding, the flowers are blooming and your waistline is sprouting. Oops! No need to panic, whatever the season. Pick up your rake and head out to your garden. Prune your rosebush, whittle your waistline and simply breathe…fresh air fitness. Ahhh! Work your body, work your garden, increase your energy levels and take the time to stop and smell the roses.

Dig In the DIRT
• Do something!
Use these ideas or create your own workout… just do something! Don’t get caught up in the exercise du jour. The perfect exercise is the one that you enjoy and will do consistently.
• Increments work
The Surgeon General requires a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate activity each day. Make small deposits of exercise towards your daily goal. Take a 5, 10-minute walk, stretch 5 minutes, strength train for 5 minutes. It all counts!
• Resourceful Ideas
No expense required. No need for a fancy gym or the latest fitness gadget to get results. And the great outdoors is a natural resource of negative ions, which give you extra energy!
• Tailor it
Personalize the movements to your needs. Listen to your body, spending more or less time on movements as you see fit. Be your own personal trainer!

A Garden Workout – 10 Simple Exercises

Exercise Equipment: rake, broom or tree
1. Lilac Leg Swings (Secure rake into the grass, handle side down, fan side up)
Stand side-by-side with rake, holding rake with one hand – find your balance – swing right leg front and back (working thighs and buttocks) 10x
2. Bird of Paradise Back Stretch – Face rake, feet hip width apart, hold rake just below metal fan, arms extended long. Let your head hang through your arms. Breathe 3 breaths - Keep your abs tight. Feel a stretch along your arms, torso and low back.
3. Wax flower Waist Whittler – Standing feet hip width apart - Place the rake horizontally across your upper back, gripping wide along the rake’s handles. Feel your chest open up and your posture improve. Hold 6 breaths. Inhale and exhale as you twist right. Center. Inhale and exhale as you twist left. 5x each direction
4. Bellflower Bend – Standing feet hip width apart – hands gripping wide along rake’s handle – arms extended overhead. Inhale and exhale as you bend to your right – inhale and exhale as you come center – inhale and exhale as you bend left – inhale and exhale as you come center. 5x each direction
Exercise Equipment: 2 bricks
5. Baby’s Breath Bicep Curls – Standing, feet hip width apart, bricks in each hand, arms at sides. Rotate palms up and lift hands to shoulders by bending your elbow and keeping it in to your waist. Slowly lower. 10x
6. Tulip Triceps Kick Backs – Standing, feet hip width apart, bricks in each hand, and arms at sides. Palms to the back- raise your straight arms behind you – hold 3 counts and slowly release. 10x
7. Sunflower Shoulder Raises – Standing, feet hip width apart, bricks in each hand, and arms at sides. Slowly raise your arms straight out to the side to shoulder level and slowly lower. 10x
8. Amaryllis Abs – As you are bending over planting, tightly squeeze abs – hold 5 seconds and release. 10x (or more)
9. Thistle Thigh Toner – kneeling (on padded surface), body upright, hands on waist. Slowly (keeping your upper body in a straight line) Lean back 1 inch – inhale – exhale to tighten abs & bring whole body forward. 5x (skip this exercise if you have knee injuries or a bad back.)
10. Cat Stretch Stattice – on all fours – inhale, drop your head and tailbone to round your back and exhale your tailbone up – arching your back and head up to smell the flowers. 5x

Heed Mr. Emerson’s wise words: “Go into your garden, pick up your spade,” dig in the dirt and find “exhilaration and good health,” simply. What do you have to lose? An inch or two…and your monthly gardening bill!

Author's Bio: 

Mare Petras, CEO (Chief Energy Officer) of Fitness Simply, is a 30-year certified fitness expert, life coach and professional speaker. She helps corporations/organizations reduce stress and increase productivity through simple wellness practices. She has written three Fitness Simply books: Tone Up with Wine & Other Fun Fit Tips and The 7 Habits of Highly Successful Swimsuit Shoppers, and Buff Boomers & Beyond Mare lives and plays in Sarasota, FL and can be reached online at http://www.FitnessSimply.com