The Health Benefits of Gardening… You can get your exercise on outside in the gardens! There are many benefits that go beyond calories burned on a treadmill.
Americans spend an astounding 2.6 billion dollars per year on gym memberships. It is clear that most people want to be fit. However, with gym memberships costing an average of $60 per month and 67% of gym members never using them, perhaps there is another way.
is. This might surprise you, because it’s not expensive to get a great workout and doesn’t require that you drive around town, hire a babysitter, or purchase overpriced yoga clothes. Plus, you get tomatoes. You might consider planting your own garden instead of going to the gym.
Let Your Garden Be Your Gym
The best-kept secret to exercise is gardening. You can go to the gym free, while also beautifying your garden and growing healthy foods. You might be surprised to know that gardening is a moderate-to-high intensity workout, targeting all major muscle groups. These include the muscles of the abdomen, legs, stomach, neck, back, and shoulders. They are the ones that burn the most calories and build strength. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that you can burn upto 330 calories in just an hour of yard work and light gardening. This is more than walking, biking, and lifting weights for the exact same time. As part of a healthy fitness plan, the National Institute of Health recommends gardening for 30 to 45 minutes three to five days a week.
This is an example of the differences between gardening chores and other activities.
- A 30 minute period of digging and shoveling can burn approximately 150 calories. This is equivalent to riding a stationary bicycle at the gym for the exact same time.
- Trimming shrubs takes about 182 calories. This is equivalent to lifting weights for 30 minutes.
- A 30 minute session of leaf raking burns approximately 162 calories. This is equivalent to intermediate Pilates in the same time period.
- Mowing the lawn for 30 minutes burns approximately 182 calories. This is equivalent to doing low-impact aerobics in the same time.
Gardening not only burns calories, but strengthens your joints and improves flexibility. You’ll be constantly moving around, reaching for the seeds or pulling the weeds, so you can get up and down and bend and stretch. The health benefits go up from there. Daily gardening for 30 minutes can lower your blood pressure, cholesterol, and reduce the risk of developing heart disease or diabetes. It can also prevent or slow down osteoporosis.
Your backyard gym can be a great investment for your health and pocketbook. Here are some more reasons to join the backyard gym.
Your Garden Will Not Be Left Behind
Gardening is a more enjoyable and goal-oriented outdoor activity than other forms of exercise. People are more likely to keep at it and do it frequently. It can be tedious, and it is easy to lose motivation. Keep in mind that 67% people who have gym memberships never use it. Regular exercise is the only way to achieve your goals.
Gardening is, however, an exercise that has a context. Gardening is not about burning calories, but rather creating beautiful gardens or delicious food. The exercise is a bonus to something you already do. Studies show that gardening is a better investment for your health than a gym membership, as it can be enjoyable and more rewarding than expensive exercise.
Own Your Own Smoothie Shop
Everybody knows that exercise is only one part of achieving optimal health. It is just as important to know what you put into your body as how and when you exercise. Your garden could be your best gym.
A vegetable or fruit straight from your garden is a healthier option than any other superfood. You can choose from natural pesticides and organic fertilizers when gardening. You can grow foods right at the peak of their nutritional value, which allows them to absorb nutrients that would otherwise be lost if they are not picked when they are ripe. We’re more likely to eat more vegetables and fruits if we do the work of growing and choosing our own fruit and vegetables.
Many studies have found that gardeners consume more vegetables and fruits than their peers. Gardeners and non-gardeners will both agree that the fruits and vegetables you grow in your own garden are better than any produce from your local grocery store.
Imagine yourself working out in your backyard and being rewarded with a tasty smoothie or salad made with the freshest produce. You can either spend six to seven dollars at your local smoothie shop while you’re on your way home from the gym, or you can grab what you like out of your garden and make your own healthier version in your kitchen.
Gardening Will Lower Stress
Stress is bad for the body, as we all know. Stress can lead to everything, from irritability and headaches to stomach pains and heart attacks to stomach aches. Working in the garden or outside can be a great way to relieve stress. Researchers in the Netherlands compared gardening and reading to find out how they can relieve stress. After completing a stressful task, students were given the option to read indoors or go outside and garden for 30 minutes. The students who gardened were more positive than those who read, and also had lower levels of stress hormone cortisol.
Studies of older adults show that horticultural therapy, including garden settings, may reduce stress and improve attention. More studies show that gardening can help with a variety of stressful situations.
- Reduced physical pain
- Dealing with physically difficult circumstances
- Rehabilitation or recovery after surgery or other medical procedures
- Learning to cope better with chronic conditions
One can even enter the “Zone” by gardening. This is also known as altered states of consciousness. It is similar to the experience that runners (often called “Runner’s High”) and those who practice yoga or meditation can have. It can be described as prolonged feelings of euphoria, accompanied by decreased anxiety and an increased ability to feel pain.
How to Join The Garden Gym
Gardening requires strength, flexibility, and stamina. Looking through seed catalogues is not a good warm-up. To prevent injury, it is worth doing some stretching before and after you spend time in the garden. Start slowly, and then increase the intensity of your exercise. Flexibility can be maintained by stretching the lower back and hamstrings regularly, and flexing your hips and knees with lunges. Also, strengthening your abdominal muscles with crunches and abdominal muscles strengthening with crunches.
Use properly-sized tools with cushioned handle. Thicker grips provide greater leverage and less pressure on the joints. To protect yourself from cuts or blisters, wear gloves. Sunscreen and a broad-brimmed hat are also important to prevent sunburn. To protect your feet from puncture wounds or crushing injuries, make sure you have well-fitted closed-toe shoes. To prevent slips and falls, rubber soles are recommended.
To avoid the heat, gardeners should plant in the mornings or evenings. Drink plenty of water, take frequent breaks, and make sure to hydrate regularly. You can work in increments of 15-30 minutes and then take a break or switch activities. If you feel dizziness, nausea, vomiting, or fatigue, stop immediately and go to the house to cool down.
Gardening can be fun and stress-relieving if you don’t overdo it. Plus, you get tomatoes.