New Year's resolutions often aren’t worth the breath we expend thinking about them, but there’s no denying that they hint at our goals.
For some, that’s a new job, a happier family life or a dream holiday. For others, it’s self-improvement – and in that regard, there’s no greater ambition for many of us than to improve our physical health.
Being fitter means more energy throughout the day, better average moods and a longer life. The only problem? We’re busy people with busy lives and so, finding the time to work on our fitness is often extremely difficult.
But what if we told you that you could improve your physical health by doing something that you already love? That’s right; we’re talking about gardening.
What makes gardening such effective exercise?
One of the key benefits of gardening as a type of exercise it the sheer variety of movements you undertake as you go move around your garden, going from task to task. From watering to weeding, you’re working all the major muscle groups.
A day spent in the garden will work your legs, arms, shoulders, neck, buttocks, back and abdomen, helping to build functional muscle and burn calories. Additionally, the stretching required do things like trimming bushes also provides a vital health benefit.
Best of all? Gardening is low-impact, so even those with frail joints can do it without fear of causing damage to themselves.
How many calories does gardening burn?
There’s more to exercise than burning calories alone, but measuring the calorie-burning impact of certain typical gardening activities does provide us with a good idea of the kind of impact that regular gardening can have on the body.
So, how many calories does gardening burn? Let’s take a look at some common scenarios.
- Heavy Gardening Work (Landscaping, Paving, Shovelling) – 400-600 calories per hour.
- Raking Leaves – 350-400 calories per hour.
- General Garden Maintenance (Planting, Pulling Weeds, Et Cetera) – 200-400 calories per hour.
- Mowing the Grass – 250-300 calories per hour.
Clearly then, gardening is tremendous cardiovascular exercise, but it’s rare that any of us dedicate ourselves to hour after hour of continuous gardening at full effort.
Instead, we pop in and out, doing a little bit here and there throughout the week. For this reason, if you are planning on using gardening to supplement your exercise regime, it’s vital that when you do garden, you make the most of it. Try to maintain an elevated heart rate!
How often should you garden?
The obvious answer here is ‘as often as you need to’, but that varies dramatically based on everything from personal preference to the size and complexity of your garden. So, let’s just focus on the health aspects of gardening.
Gardening, like any form of regular exercise, should be done for at least 30 minutes several times a week. The good news? New research suggests that as long as you’re making sure each activity lasts at least eight minutes, you can take breaks between them, so long as those eight minutes add up to at least thirty.
So, why not grab that trowel and get out there? It’s a brilliant way to improve the health of both your body and your garden!
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