Guest Written by – Kaitlynn from MIgardener
Gardening is good for us, inside and out! Today, we’re going to look at all of the ways working in the garden can benefit our overall health. From lifting, to squats, there are many movements that occur naturally in gardening tasks that help us stay in shape. It’s not uncommon to break a sweat in the garden.
Here are some tips on how you can get the best workout from your gardening tasks.
How we do it:
Sometimes, when spending a large chunk of our day in the garden, we may not realize how hard we are working! In vigorously gardening for the love of it, we forget the strain we might be putting on our backs, joints, and muscles. However; just like any workout, it is important to do a warm up before getting started.
Stretching before and after working in the garden can decrease the risk of pulling muscles. When planning to do higher intensity jobs, make sure to do them in smaller chunks of time throughout the day. This keeps us healthy, but not overworked. You wouldn’t run a marathon without training! Another tip is to make sure to keep good posture, this strengthens back and core muscles.
What works out:
Not surprisingly, gardening burns calories! Jobs like hoeing, weeding, and planting are shown to be the best for this. Thirty minutes of these garden jobs can burn between 140-200 calories for men and women.
Here are the muscles we use when doing various gardening jobs:
- Arm muscles: hoeing, pruning, weeding on hands and knees, shoveling
- Back muscles: raking, lifting the wheelbarrow, carrying and lifting watering cans
- Leg muscles: lifting with legs instead of back, weeding while squatting
- Core/abdominal muscles: hoeing, shoveling, turning compost
Additional health benefits:
- Live longer – In a recent study and article published by BBC, gardening has been linked to living longer. Some scientists believe gardening could be a key component in the health of individuals who live past 100.
- Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease – Gardening and any activity requiring a person to be on their feet, and doing even light work can reduce risk of heart disease by up to 40%.
- Reduce anxiety and depression – Gardening has been shown to greatly reduce anxiety and depression through several different factors. The first being that soil borne bacteria have been found to increase seratonin levels which can increase mood and reduce anxiety and depression. Second, focusing on different textures, colors, and tasks has been recommended by many phycologists and therapists to help combat forms of depression, PTSD, and generalized anxiety. Lastly, gardening provides nutritional food which can decrease side effects from hormonal and chemical imbalances that have been linked to depression and anxiety in both men and women of all ages.
Why we do it:
Luckily, most people don’t garden purely with the intention of changing the number on the scale. We garden for the love of it. Gardening might not be enough regular exercise to replace a daily run, but it is helpful to know how beneficial it is to our overall health.
Did you learn anything new in this post? Let us know what you thought!