By Jill Brooke
Help us solve a mystery!
Queen guitarist Brian May reports that he managed to “rip [his] gluteus maximus to shreds in a moment of overenthusiastic gardening.”
“So suddenly I find myself in a hospital getting scanned to find out exactly how much I’ve actually damaged myself,” he said in an Instagram post on Thursday. “Turns out I did a thorough job – this is a couple of days ago – and I won’t be able to walk for a while … or sleep, without a lot of assistance, because the pain is relentless.”
So Flower Power Daily gardeners, any idea how one can do this? What type of “weeding” was he doing before he tended to his flowers?
We asked Chris Beytes, editor of Grower Talks magazine what he thought.
“Gardening can involve a lot of bending and stooping and lifting, and if you do it without a bit of stretching and warming up, especially when you are Brian’s age, which is 72, it doesn’t take much to pull a muscle,” says Beytes. “Still, you’d think rocking as the lead guitarist for Queen would keep one’s gluts in better shape than that!”
While gardening may not be a competitive sport—though judging who has the best rose garden has been known to cause some thorny competitions—it is nonetheless an athletic one. Yes, preparing all those tulip beds can be the equivalent of some bench presses. Pulling weeds can result in pulling muscles if you don’t stretch before you spend hours in the garden.
According to research at Iowa State University, here is rundown of caloric burn from gardening activities for 30 minutes:
Calories burned while digging: women 150, men 197
Calories burned while planting transplants, shrubs and trimming and pruning: women 135, men 177
Calories burned while weeding the flower beds and vegetable garden: women 138, men 181
Calories burned while digging holes: women 150, men 197
According to the University of Virginia, gardening rates up there with other moderate to strenuous forms of exercise like walking and bicycling.
Furthermore, weeding, hauling compost and planting flowers requires a lot of bending and lifting which can strain your back and hurt your wrists and shoulders. And at least with Brian May, your buttocks too.
As Gary L. Altman, M.S., CRC, HTR and associate director of the Horticultural Therapy Program at Rutgers University School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, told mindbodygreen, gardening incorporates all four types of exercise: endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility and can be much more vigorous than people may realize. “Gardening should be thought of as a whole-body exercise that works all of the major muscle groups,” he said, “including legs, buttocks, back, abdomen, neck, arms, and shoulders.”
So gardening isn’t only for your mental health, it also benefits your physical health too.
However, this story should raise awareness of how gardening can be more physically demanding than one thinks and be prepared. So stretch! No ifs, ands or “butts.”
In the interim, we at Flower Power Daily wish May a speedy recovery so he can get back to gardening. And hopefully, this Queen song that incorporate flowers will give him pleasure while he waits to return to the garden.
Jill Brooke is a former CNN correspondent, Post columnist and editor-in-chief of Avenue and Travel Savvy magazine. She is an author and the editorial director of FPD.