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Garden Your Way to Health and Fitness

By Bunny Guinness and Jacqueline Knox

I've been waiting for a book like this as long as I can remember! The authors do a magnificent job of relating the world of gardening to the world of good health, and even the most reluctant gardener will find in this book reasons to break out the (ergonomic!) garden tools and get fit.

Tracy DiSabato-Aust, author of The Well Designed Mixed Garden and The Well-Tended Perennial Garden

It's no secret that working in the garden is an all-around health booster: along with the emotional rewards gardeners glean from carving out a bit of personal space in the sunshine, all of those hours spend weeding, raking, digging, and lifting serve to increase stamina, build muscle tone, and burn calories. Yet all too often gardeners complain of aches and pains because their bodies are thrown off balance, and sometimes even seriously injured, by all of the bending, lifting, and kneeling that gardening involves.

Fortunately, help is at hand as garden designer Bunny Guinness joins forces with physiotherapist Jacqueline Knox in this one-stop guide to all-around garden health. Step-by-step sequences based on the Pilates method illustrate the safe way to push wheelbarrows, lift heavy pots, pick low-lying fruit, and much more in a way that boosts fitness benefits while avoiding stresses and strains.

Because a health-promoting garden should be thoroughly in tune with the gardener's lifestyle, the authors also detail a wealth of tactics for achieving beautiful gardens that require a range of exertion levels. They describe planting designs that are best for time-pressed gardeners, how to use daily garden maintenance regimes to stay active, and how to design a custom 'outdoor gym'. Illustrated sequences guide gardeners through physical exercises to suit their fitness levels, using trees, balance beams, benches, and other props.

Looking after oneself is also key to good garden health. To this end, a comprehensive guide to growing fruits, vegetables, and herbs, a rundown of the best gardening clothes and ergonomic tools, tips for preventing and treating common ailments, and guidelines for winding down the healthy way complete this indispensable resource.

Media reviews

"Sounds crazy, but you'll soon be convinced by this book: Garden the right way and you can get a good workout."

Time Magazine

"Turns working in the landscape into an exercise regimen. The book is not about cultural practices for plants. It's about how you handle yourself in the garden."

—Joel M. Lerner, Washington Post

"Full-color photos of gardens and exercises (from warm-ups to wind-downs and all the moves in between), plus planting tips make this a great gift for any gardener."

Taste for Life

"Why pay a gym membership when gardening is such a great way to burn calories? Inspired by [this book], we'll be swapping our indoor lunges and squats for healthy outdoor digging, mowing and weeding."

—Constance Craig Smith, Daily Mail

"Beautiful ornamental gardens and ergonomic vegetable gardens are described so you can create one of your own. This book will help you make gardening just what the doctor ordered."

—Sydney Everhart, Iowa Horticulturist

"A manifesto for keeping gardeners injury-free, a road map to fitness through gardening. What a timesaving concept — work out as you garden rather than work out in order to garden."

—Valerie Easton, Seattle Times

"If you have ever considered spending any significant portion of time in your garden, especially with the idea of getting a good workout in the process, [this book] will be an excellent reference in your endeavor."

Fitness Mantra

"Put a garden designer and landscape architect in the same room with a physiotherapist and what do you get? A very thorough look at getting and staying fit through gardening."

Suffolk Times

"The authors have done a phenomenal job of combining both the practices of fine gardening and good health."

—John Bagnasco, Garden Compass

"Packed with pre-gardening warm-ups and strengthening exercises, post-gardening stretches and advice for safer gardening."

—Amber Smith, Syracuse Post-Standard

About the authors

Bunny Guinness

Bunny Guinness is a leading garden designer who has run her own landscape design practice since 1987. A prominent figure in the British gardening media, she is a regular panelist on BBC Radio 4's 'Gardeners' Question Time' and has appeared on many television shows. The recipient of six gold medals for her Chelsea Flower Show gardens, she takes on private garden design commissions all over the world.

Read more about Bunny Guinness

Jacqueline Knox

Jacqueline Knox is a physiotherapist who often lectures on spinal problems. Since 2000 she has served as physiotherapist to the British rowing team, who won a gold medal at the Athens Olympics. A proponent of the physiotherapeutic benefits of the Pilates method, she co-wrote the Official Body Control Pilates Manual and was medical consultant on the book Pilates Pregnancy Guide.

Read more about Jacqueline Knox

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