In a continuing collaboration with Scott over at Straight to the Bar, we will be writing about alternative exercises throughout the month of June. Cross training can easily be expanded outside of the realms of running, weight lifting, bicycling and swimming.
A great way to condition yourself and to accomplish something at the same time is to spend some time in your yard. Most landscaping chores involve some sort of physical labor and can be a great way to get some exercise. As a bonus you will also get to spend some time outdoors enjoying the weather.
Yard work can hit every muscle group, and can also exercise your mind as you plan out how you want your lawn or garden to look. Mowing the lawn, spreading mulch, raking leaves, pulling weeds and hauling just about anything can get your heart rate elevated and help you break a sweat.
Go slowly; like any exercise, a proper warmup can help to ensure that you do not pull any muscles. Change your posture on any tool that you are using, switch hands, and change which direction you are working frequently in order to work each side of your body. For example, when raking leaves, use forward and back motions as well as left to right and right to left sweeping motions. Any time that you are going to lift something, be sure to bend at the knees and not at the back. Never reach over your head with your tools; this will help prevent you from straining anything as well as prevent you from cutting something that will then fall on your head.
When you are done after spending a day in your yard or your garden, you can look back at what you accomplished. Your yard will look nice, and if you planting vegetables or herbs then you will eventually have some home-grown food that you can enjoy with your meals.