June 6th Is National Gardening Exercise DayMay 18th, 2012 by Craig Mullins
It’s hard to argue that gardening doesn’t have positive affects on your health and overall wellbeing. Proven over and over to be beneficial on many levels, gardening is an easy and gentle way to help you stay as healthy as you can be.
National Gardening Exercise Day is a perfect day to burn a few calories through a revved up gardening routine. According to experts in the field of exercise, the various activities that go along with gardening cause you to use all of your major muscle groups. In addition, the acts of digging, hoeing, and raking are both aerobic and strengthening.
Research shows that gardening can, on average, burn 300 calories per hour, while heavy hard work can burn an average of 600 or more calories an hour. The same research estimates that gardening can contribute to lowering your risk of cancer.
In addition to the physical exercise, simply spending time in your garden and getting back to nature has a positive effect on your overall mental and emotional health.
Below are some pointers from Jeffrey Restuccio, a nationally recognized author and speaker on the subject of combining gardening and exercise, on how to benefit most from gardening exercise.
1. Warm up your muscles before you garden for five to ten minutes.
2. Stretch for five to ten minutes. Yes, stretch before you garden! Stretching will help relieve back strain and muscle soreness and avoid injury.
3. Garden using a variety of motions at a steady pace. Plan out your gardening exercise session to include a variety of movements such as raking, mowing, weeding, pruning and digging and alternate between them often, every fifteen minutes, for example.
4. Ideally, you should stretch again after you have thoroughly warmed up your muscles with fifteen to twenty minutes of steady raking, hoeing, weeding, planting or mowing.
5. Cool down after your gardening exercise session by walking, picking flowers or vegetables or just enjoying the fruits of your “exercise.”
A few more tips for your gardening exercise routine:
– Always bend from the knees and not your back.
– Alternate your motion and stance as often as possible.
– Use long-handled tools for raking or hoeing and kneel/sit while using hand tools.
– Avoid an all-day gardening marathon session on the weekend; space out your time in the garden throughout the week if possible.
For more information on how to get fit through gardening, visit Jeff Restuccio’s website at: www.getfitthroughgardening.com
Happy National Gardening Exercise Day! How will you be celebrating?