Gardening and Yardwork for Better Health and Fitness

by Alison McIrvin
Gardening and Yardwork for Better Health and Fitness

Gardening has long been one of the fastest growing hobbies for the past few years.  Other than adding beauty and value to your home as well as providing a great creative outlet, there are some really great fitness and health reasons to get out and dig in the dirt.

It is estimated that one hour of gardening burns 300 calories. More if you are really digging or doing major landscaping improvements such as shoveling gravel or laying patio stones. As you work in your garden, you are exercising all major muscle groups such as your legs, back, abdominals, arms and especially your behind!

All that digging and raking builds bone density, as it is an effective form of weight bearing exercise.

Gardening helps lower blood pressure as you get out and leave your worries behind while you smell the dirt and fresh air. Stress melts away as you also exercise your brain and creative side designing and planning your garden layout.  A lasting sense of accomplishment and satisfaction is the result of creating and maintaining your garden space

Another benefit of gardening as a form of exercise is that it doesn’t require a gym membership or expensive equipment.  A decent shovel, yard rake, and weeding tools are pretty much all you need.

The health benefits associated with vegetable gardening are due to the ability to raise your own organic food.  Sharing the bounty of your veggie garden with neighbors and co-workers contributes to an important sense of community.

Other than impaling yourself with a sharp garden tool, the only “risks” associated with gardening are when there has not been adequate enough warm up and stretching before starting.  Sometimes when people get out in the garden after a long winter, they attack the tasks with a bit too much gusto and pay for it the next day.

Take care to avoid this and make sure to warm up and stretch properly before a day in the garden.  Also keep in mind posture and proper lifting so that your gardening session doesn’t leave you with low back issues and keep you out of the game. Check out this article for tips on warming up before and also safe movement during gardening to protect your back and stay injury free.  Let us know how your garden is coming along this spring and any helpful stretches you do before you head out to the garden.

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