For years, a common attitude toward gardening has been relegated to seasoned citizens poking plants in the ground, watering from a can, strolling happily, albeit slowly, around their flower gardens. The garden is a great place for a functional workout! There’s plenty of stretching, pushing, pulling, and lifting which utilizes several muscles groups at one time.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, gardening is a moderate cardiovascular exercise. Spending 30 to 45 minutes a day is equivalent to burning 150-300 calories. This outdoor activity is not just letting the water run out of the hose. It includes weeding, digging, hoeing, raking, building things, tearing things out, removing/hauling refuse, and planting. Like any exercise routine, check with your doctor for any limitations you might encounter. Remember, gardening as exercise is year round. It’s not a stationary object like an elliptical trainer and it won’t wait till you decide to climb back on at a later date. You might end up with triple duty workout! Here are some tips to manage your gardening exercise routine;
Small is better. Container gardens or a raised beds are a great way to start.
Know your plants. Creek Side Gardens is there to help with the plants best suited for our Zone 5.
Change it up. To utilize different muscle groups (and lessen the stress) change your gardening tasks every 20-30 minutes.
Break often. Hydrate! Stretch! Sit! Re-apply sunscreen!
Smart lifting. Use your biggest, strongest muscles, for the heavy stuff. Use your feet to move a shovel of dirt, not twist your side.
The air you breathe. Allergies needn’t keep you from gardening, again, know your triggers and stay inside on high pollen count days.
Right tool, right job. Good quality tools are a must when heading out into the garden. Keep tool blades sharp, ergonomic handles alleviate fatigue in hands, wrists, and arms, durable gloves, and others which allow for ease and less strain.
Easy does it. Sedentary people who jump right into a new exercise routine have a greater risk of injury. Setting a realistic pace is important for your health.
Get soaked. After a day of gardening exercise, a warm bath or sitting in a hot tub is a great way to pat yourself on the back for exercise well done!