More people are turning to gardening as stores and food plants are currently being affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, as I learned while getting my degree in exercise and sport science, gardening doesn’t just yield plants. It also yields injuries if you’re not being mindful of how you move while digging, weeding, and harvesting. Here on Fit2B, we specialize in helping people with abdominal separation move better, so I’d like to offer some TummySafe gardening video tips for protecting your Diastasis Recti.
Protecting Diastasis While Gardening
Before I share my gardening tips in the video and written tips below, let’s pause if you’re not even sure what Diastasis Recti is, because you can learn about it and check your belly muscles with our free videos here. If you do have a gap in your abs, you need to explore more of our blog, connect with a local core rehab specialist, use our Diastasis-aware workouts here on Fit2B, and — most importantly — start learning how to manage the pressure in your core during the activities of your daily life.
I live on seven acres in rural Washington State, and I used to have a deep 3-finger wide abdominal separation before I did ab rehab with The Tummy Team and narrowed it down significantly. After rehab, though, I still had a small gap that gradually resolved as I pinpointed positions in my daily chores that made my belly bulge. One of those chores was (and is) gardening! Yanking weeds is a workout, can I get an “Amen”?
TummySafe Gardening: Video Tips for Protecting Diastasis
In this educational gardening movement video, you’ll see two versions of me, Beth, the founder of Fit2B. My hair is blue in the first half — thanks to our Blue color series of workouts — and it’s my normal brown in the second video, which came from one of our courses called Beth in Real Life (BIRL). Our members love the BIRL videos because they offer a low-pressure, unscripted, fun peek into my everyday life. Each one includes core awareness strategies for everyday situations … like gardening!
4 Strategies to keep your abs safe in the garden
Okay, so you watched the candid, rambly video that toured you around a bit of my farm life, but there’s more to TummySafe gardening! So, let me spell out a few more tips for protecting your abs in the garden. Whether you’ve only got a little bit of Diastasis Recti left to resolve, or it’s still deep and wide, these strategies will also help your lower back and hips take less strain!
- Raise Your Beds — While your core is in a major healing phase — whether that’s because you just had a baby, abdominal surgery, or a newly diagnosed Diastasis Recti — being totally upright in a standing position is the most ideal. During this short season of extra attentiveness toward your abs, we’re going to baby your belly a bit. If you can get your raised beds raised up higher, it will make a huge difference in your intra-abdominal pressure because you won’t have to lean over so much.
- Keep your torso loonnnggg — Elongating your body by standing as tall as possible, or sitting as tall as possible, or squatting while keeping your torso as tall as possible is a natural way to activate your deepest “corset” muscles. It also creates more space between each vertebra in your spine!
- Squat instead of bending over — If you have the ability to drop into a full “Asian Squat,” do it! If you don’t, use this free video to work toward the ability to squat deeply. Squatting keeps your torso more upright, which keeps pressure off the midline of your abs (and your healing diastasis!).
- Exhale to Engage with the Exertion (E.E.E.) — Breathe out and set your ab muscles as you yank that stubborn weed. Breathe out and draw your navel inward slightly as you stand up out of a squat. Blow before you lift the shovelful of dirt. Exhale as you lift that awkward arbor vitae!
Don’t forget to stretch!
We already established that gardening is a workout, so be sure you take frequent stretching breaks. Open your palms to release your grip on the trowel. Reach your arms out to the sides and look up at the sky to open your chest and arm muscles. Do a few standing cat stretches by placing your hands on your thighs and rounding your spine as you exhale your navel up to the heavens. Roll your head in a few circles to stretch your neck. Lift a foot up and rest it on something while you hinge at your hips to lengthen your hamstrings. Roll your shoulders down and back. Drink lots of water, too!
Leave us a comment!
What are your TummySafe tips for protecting your Diastasis Recti while gardening? What is your favorite thing to plant and grow in your garden? When you work in your garden, do you stretch or align your spine in certain ways? How do you prevent injury to your core and lower back while digging and harvesting plants? Scroll down and join the comments today because we’d love to hear from you!