Bring Garden Movement into Your Life

Move with intention through your garden routine to stretch and strengthen long-forgotten muscles.

| June/July 2019

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Holding loads close to your body puts less strain on your arms and utilizes larger muscle groups.
Photo by Getty Images/gpointstudio

Bodybuilder Sam Sycamore fell head over heels for farming after suffering a biking accident that left him unable to continue his intense gym regime. Weakness in his elbow led to chronic pain in his shoulder, and before long, he realized he couldn’t quite sustain his intense routine of biking, swimming, and weightlifting that had comprised his exercise routine for years. “My injuries forced me to confront difficult decisions about how and why I use my body,” he says.

Farming had once been something he’d thought he’d pursue in the distant future, but as he considered his health, his plans shifted. He decided to lease a 1⁄4-acre garden and a couple of acres of pasture to start up a small-scale, specialty-crop operation outside of Louisville, Kentucky. Sycamore discovered that doing chores around the farm traded repetitive gym exercises for a more complex and useful set of movements. In essence, he could move his body in more healthful ways than he ever did as a bodybuilder.

We know about the dietary and financial benefits offered by fresh, organically grown produce from our own fields and backyards, but when we begin to think of and use the garden as our own personal gym, those benefits multiply.



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Photo by Getty Images/bluecinema

Movement Permaculture

Introducing dynamic, whole-body movements through work in your garden is a concept that Katy Bowman, biomechanist and author of the book Movement Matters, calls “movement permaculture.” Bowman calls typical gym movements, which focus on select muscle groupings and are typically detached from the natural world, “junk food movements.” In the long term, these junk food movements aren’t good for our bodies. “To practice movement permaculture is to move in such a way that you can keep moving — often moving with a higher range and quality — for the rest of your life,” she says.






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