Posted on Oct 13, 2022, 12 p.m.
Adding gardening to your weekly routine may just be what you need to stay physically and mentally fit. According to Science Direct research, gardening at least two to three times a week boosts well-being and reduces stress. People with health issues particularly emphasized the value of gardening.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also put gardening on their list as a moderate cardiovascular exercise. Spending 30 to 45 minutes a day tending to your garden burns 150 to 300 Calories.
If you are lucky enough to have space for a garden, don’t miss the opportunity to grow your own vegetables and reap all the benefits of gardening. You can find a ton of vegetable garden ideas online that will help you get on track.
Keep reading and discover how you can turn gardening into a workout and a stress reliever.
How to turn gardening into a workout
When talking about physical activity and workouts, gardening is not the first thing that comes to mind. Nevertheless — gardening has a very similar impact on the body as walking and cycling.
While gardening, you use all the major muscle groups and burn calories. Also, if you are digging, raking, or weeding in a way that your breathing and heart rate increase — it can be considered an aerobic activity.
To make gardening an effective workout, do the following:
Schedule your gardening time
Suppose you want to get fit while gardening; make it a part of your regular schedule. It’s not how long you spend gardening but how often you do it. Much like regular exercise, it’s the frequency, not the volume.
It’s better to be active each day, adding up to 2 and a half to 5 hours of moderate physical activity each week, than to do a lengthy session in a gym once a week.
The same goes for gardening.
Treat gardening as you would a typical workout
Prepare your body for the work ahead with warm-ups, ideally by stretching before and after gardening. Another simple thing you can do to warm up your muscles is to walk around the garden a few times.
Stretching and warming up your muscles will prevent injury and lessen or shorten after-work muscle pain, giving you the ability to work on your garden for longer time.
Rotate your tasks to do away with repetitive movements, and go from intense to lighter tasks to prevent muscle strain. For example, after 15 minutes of digging, proceed to raking and then pruning.
And of course, don’t forget to take water breaks in between. It’s easy to get dehydrated when you’re out working under the sun.
Exaggerate your motion
Extending the range of motion is a technique also used in martial arts and weight training.
Dig deeper. Extend the rake.
Increase the sweep or the arc of your every movement. The bigger the movement, the more muscles are used — and more calories burned.
Use the big muscles
Engaging the big muscles such as the torso, quadriceps, and buttocks, help build strength as you burn calories.
Lifting bags of mulch, pushing wheelbarrows, and digging provides the strength training that can ensure healthier bones and joints.
Getting your strength from these big muscles instead of focusing the effort on the small muscles of your arms and lower back will help you feel less sore after a day of gardening.
Gardening as a stress reliever
According to Psychological research, spending time in nature can improve mental health and sharpen cognition. Gardening is an easy way you can be surrounded by nature. The calming effect of gardening can boost mood and concentration.
Here are more specific ways gardening can reduce stress:
The Sun provides Vitamin D that boosts your mood
Regular sun exposure that gardening brings is the most natural way to get the vitamin D you need.
Vitamin D has been shown to regulate mood and fight depression. But remember that you can only expose bare skin to direct sunlight for 5 to 30 minutes. Put on a gardening hat or sunscreen after that.
Gardening is ideal for meditation
Gardening is an opportunity to practice mindfulness or simply be in the moment. It’s a chance to break away from any stressful thoughts. It clears your head and helps you be more in touch with yourself.
Focus on the task at hand and give yourself a chance to just enjoy the plants you are tending to, the wind touching your face, the sun on your skin, and even the sweat on your forehead.
Gardening can help stimulate the production of serotonin, causing us to feel good
Bacteria in the soil stimulate areas of the brain that produce serotonin, a chemical messenger that stabilizes our mood. It helps us feel optimistic, happy, and satisfied. So don’t think twice about digging soil with your hands. Feel that closeness with the Earth and connection with nature.
With its unique set of benefits on mental health, gardening is even used as an effective but inexpensive nonpharmacological intervention to help with the symptoms of people suffering from dementia.
Do you need more convincing to get into gardening?
On top of improving your mental health and reaping physical benefits — such as lowering risks of disease, building strength, and improving balance and dexterity — gardening is a good way to bond with your loved ones.
You can turn family members or friends into your gardening buddy. Having one makes gardening more fun and increases your chances to stick with your commitment. It is not as jarring as other exercises like jogging and biking so it can be enjoyed even by children and elderly people.
Worried because you don’t have a piece of land to grow a garden? You can always try and see if you can participate in a community garden or discover the joy of container gardening.
Next time you feel blue and tired, spending time outside could improve your mood greatly. Simply observing nature and tending your garden brings a certain kind of peace and contentment.
This article was written for WHN by Annie Morton who is an avid nature lover from rural Australia. After some international adventures, she settled in New York City. She is a part of the happy family at Hoselink innovative gardening and watering solutions, helping to make the world prettier one garden at a time. If you have some questions about Hoselink Garden Hose Reel she is the person to talk to.
As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before changing your wellness routine. This article is not intended to provide a medical diagnosis, recommendation, treatment, or endorsement.
Opinion Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy of WHN/A4M. Any content provided by guest authors is of their own opinion and is not intended to malign any religion, ethic group, club, organization, company, individual, or anyone or anything.
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