Did you know gardening is actually good for you? Gardening is an enjoyable pastime that is widely available to anyone who is interested. There is no need to go to a fancy gym or spend money on exercise equipment. Your gym is the outdoors, surrounded by nature and fresh air. Your equipment can be found in gardening tools such as rakes, hoes, mowers, wheelbarrows, clippers, shovels, and watering cans. Let's learn more about maintaining a garden for health.
Benefits of Gardening
Both gardening and yard work contributes to healthy living. Approximately 300 calories an hour can be burned just by gardening. Not only can you burn calories, but in the end, you'll have a beautiful landscape to show for it. Gardening can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol or prevent diabetes, heart disease, depression, and osteoporosis when practiced on a regular basis. Exercise in the garden gives all major muscle groups a good workout including your legs, arms, buttocks, stomach, neck, and back. Whether it comes in the form of digging up soil, setting plants, or carrying water, exercise is taking place. Weeding, pruning, mowing, and even walking around the yard can increase heart rate and tone up the body. Your brain even gets a chance to work out as you plan garden designs and absorb information from resource materials.
Physical Garden Fitness
Garden fitness is a good way to lose inches from your waistline. Not only is it fun and relaxing, but there is no diet regimen to follow. You're simply doing what you already love. If done on a regular basis, you can lose weight without even being aware that you're doing it. In fact, there are lots of garden chores that can burn fat, and if you are able to burn off more calories than you consume, weight loss should come with ease. One good way to burn those unwanted calories is by choosing to mow the lawn with a push mower rather than riding. Believe it or not, this can burn up to 300 calories or more. Other yard work for garden health, like raking and pruning, can burn close to 200 calories. Even simple garden tasks such as tilling, digging, planting, and weeding can burn up to 200 calories. However, not everyone has the same metabolism; therefore, don't rely solely on exercise in the garden for weight loss. As with any form of exercise, there are risks if you overdo it. Therefore, you should pay attention to your body and exertion level. Take frequent breaks. To prevent neck and back strain, never use your back for lifting and avoid bending over for extended periods. Try not to accomplish too much at one time. Instead, limit your activities by breaking down your gardening tasks each day into short intervals. Just 10 minutes of moderate activities throughout the day can benefit your health. For instance, rather than weed the entire garden at one time, try doing it for only 10 to 15 minutes. Take a break and go to something else such as raking leaves or turning compost for another 10 to 15 minutes.
Mental Garden Health
Gardening has a positive effect not only on your physical health but mental health as well. Tending a garden allows your creative side to shine through leaving you with a sense of accomplishment and pride. Gardening can stimulate all of your senses. The garden is filled with all sorts of sights, sounds, textures, scents, and tastes. It may even stimulate long-forgotten memories. These stimulated senses can easily relieve and reduce unwanted stress associated with everyday life, allowing you a well-deserved break from these outside distractions. Gardening connects you with others as well as with nature. This healthy hobby is one that can be enjoyed and practiced by everyone in the family and at any age. Gardening also benefits your health when you choose to grow and eat your own food. When you grow your own herbs, fruits, and vegetables, you know exactly what's been done to it; whereas, commercially grown produce may have been treated with unsafe pesticides and fertilizers. Of course, nothing quite compares to the fresh, sweet taste of food that has been grown and harvested from your own garden either. So now that you know more about the benefits of gardening, why not grow your own garden for health today?
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Nikki Tilley has been gardening for nearly three decades. The former Senior Editor and Archivist of Gardening Know How, Nikki has also authored six gardening books.