Garden Exercise Day: Make Your Gardening Routine into an Exercise Routine

Image source: ecosalon.com

Image source: ecosalon.com

It’s Garden Exercise Day! Today is the day digging up dirt counts as a workout. Surprisingly, getting your hands dirty can be great exercise if you do it right. If you’re putting an earnest effort into your gardening, you’ll be able to feel the physical effects – at least if you’re not letting machines do the work for you. Here’s to make your gardening routine into an exercise routine:

Mowing (with a push mower) – Using a reel push mower to mow your lawn can be a great calorie-burning activity. Mowing requires you to use your legs, arms and back and helps build core strength. Mowing can also be a moderate cardiovascular exercise. According to livestrong.com, a 135-pound person can burn up to 135 calories in 30 minutes of mowing the lawn.

Tree-pruning – The reaching and bending action involved in tree-pruning is similar to what fitness trainers call a burpee without stretching out into a pushup position. Try making tree pruning into a deliberate, repeated motion: Reach up to trim, squat to drop the twigs and leaves. Repeat. Add a step on a stool or ladder gives you one more calorie-burning motion to your routine.

garden-yogaDigging, Weeding and Planting – When you’re on your hands and knees digging in the garden, treat it as the cat-cow yoga poses with action. While you’re digging, you’re working the muscles in your forearms and shoulders (be sure to switch arms every few minutes to distribute the workout); incorporate the cat-cow poses to stretch your spine and get you ready for more rigorous activity.

Raking – raking is a resistance exercise. Pulling the rake toward you works your upper back and arms. Make sure to switch the sides you’re pulling toward to work both arms.

Bagging (leaves, mulch, weeds) – Turn bagging leaves into a squats routine. Squat to gather leaves and twigs, stand to drop the leaves in the bag. Repeat the motion. This works the muscles, thighs, hips, and glutes. It’s a simple exercise and if you do it regularly, it can help strengthen your muscles to make every-day routines easier and burn fat quicker.

garden-exercise

Gardening won’t help you train for a marathon, but it is good exercise. In a study published by the American Society for Horticulture Science, people who garden have better physical function and have less pain than people who don’t garden. Even if you’re not trying to get in a workout, gardening can make you feel good and also make your garden look good.

Taking Care of Your Kitchen: 5 things you need to know to keep your food safe

Cooking is fun to do at home, but there are a lot of risks that come with preparing food. Microorganisms grow quickly in food and can make people sick, but you can prevent them from becoming a problem in your kitchen. Here are 5 things you need to remember to keep your food safe.

Acidity

Microorganisms grow very quickly in foods that don’t contain much acid. Items like egg salad or tuna salad contain very little acid so, left in the wrong conditions, they can spoil very quickly. By adding acid like lemon juice or vinegar to low-acid foods, you can reduce the risk of microorganisms spreading.

Temperature

Microorganisms develop fastest when food temperature is between 40°F and 140°F. This range is considered the temperature danger zone. Refrigerators are typically set at less than 40°F and most food is cooked to a temperature higher than 140°F. Your biggest concerns would be for food left out at room temperature (about 60°F to 90°F). Tip: keep the hot stuff hot and the cold stuff cold.

Time

Microorganisms require time to flourish. When food is left in the temperature danger zone, it grows quickly – multiplying every minute it’s left out. After four hours, microorganisms can grow to levels high enough to make someone sick.

Oxygen

Most microorganisms need oxygen to grow. Keeping food sealed in plastic and glass containers helps keep oxygen out and prevent bacteria from growing.

refrigerator-interiorMoisture

Microorganisms need water to grow. Many microorganisms die in dry conditions, so spoilage can be controlled by dehydration.

Foods most likely to spoil:

  • Milk and dairy products
  • Sprouts
  • Cooked rice, beans and vegetables
  • Baked potatoes
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Meat
  • Soy products
  • Sliced melons and cut tomatoes

There are also some foods that won’t spoil easily. Food like bread can be left out at room temperature because it contains little acid, but it contains moisture so it will spoil eventually. Cookies and crackers don’t have much acid in them and contain little moisture, so they can be left out at room temperature for extended periods without spoiling. Most fruit have acid in them so they can be left at room temperature for a period as well, but both bread and fruit won’t spoil as quickly if they are refrigerated.

Food is fickle. While you can manage all of the factors that cause food to spoil, the only two things you can control are time and temperature. So if something is sitting on the counter and you didn’t put it there remember one thing:  when in doubt, throw it out.

 

7 Foods You Thought Were Bad for You But Aren’t

Eating healthy can be a challenge. If it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, it might take a long time to prepare. However, there are some foods that just look too good to be true. But, in all reality are good for you. Here is a list of 7 foods that are actually good for you.

GuacamoleGuacamole The main ingredient of guacamole is avocado which is full of fat but it’s good fat that not only doesn’t contain cholesterol, but it can also help lower bad cholesterol. Avocados are also a good source of vitamin K, folic acid and vitamin E. In addition to avocados, guacamole also contains onions, jalapenos and tomatoes. Tomatoes are widely considered a super-food; they contain lycopene, vitamins A, C and E. Mix it all together and you have a cancer-fighting, heart-disease-battling dip.

Sweet Potato Fries Sweet potatoes are associated with carbohydrates which can scare away any dieter, but those orange tubers are packed with nutrients and they don’t contain nearly as much starch as rice or corn. Sweet potatoes are a great source of potassium, fiber and vitamin A (and Beta-carotene). Beta-carotene protects the body’s immune system and can lower the risk of cancer and heart disease. While adding fat through deep-frying isn’t ideal, in moderation the benefits outweigh the consequences. However, baked sweet potato fries are just as tasty as the fried ones.

Blueberry-SmoothieYogurt Blueberry Smoothie Smoothies get a bad rap for being high-calorie sugar shakes, but if you use yogurt instead of ice cream, they won?t be so bad. They can actually be quite good for you. Blueberries are rich in antioxidants which prevents the production of cell-damaging free radicals. They’re also anti-inflammatories. Yogurt promotes intestinal health as it’s full of probiotics and the active cultures help prevent yeast infections. You can add banana for texture and potassium and orange juice as a sweetener and for some vitamin C. Just hit puree and you have a shake for cancer to contend with.

Pork Rinds Deep fried pig skin. Sounds heart-stopping- deadly, doesn’t it? Well, unlike their potato counterparts, pork rinds contain no carbohydrates. The other good news: the bad fat in the skin is rendered off in the cooking process leaving behind almost pure protein.

Peanut-Butter-CupsPeanut Butter Cups You got chocolate in my peanut butter! You got peanut butter in my chocolate! Together, they taste like strength. Peanut butter is a protein rich food that helps build and repair muscle. It also has cholesterol-lowering, healthy fats and it’s loaded with anti-oxidants. Wrapped in dark chocolate, this may be the perfect food. Dark chocolate can lower your blood pressure, improve your cognitive function and reduce the risk for stroke. A peanut butter cup made with the right ingredients does a body good.

Coffee Coffee doesn’t just wake you up in the morning, it can give your brain a boost. It actually stimulates the release of dopamine and norepinephrine as well as improve your memory and cognitive function. But a cup of Joe can give your whole body a kick start as well. The long term benefits may include lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer?s and Parkinson?s disease.

Fried Food Fried food not only tastes good, but it?s good for you, too. Sort of. It depends on what is being fried. Something like battered and fried broccoli isn’t so bad despite that it’s cloaked in fat. But foods that contain carotenoids and fat soluble vitamins like A and K need fat it helps the body absorbs the nutrients. What makes the frying bad is the type of fat. It’s better to stick to oils like canola and safflower that are made up of unsaturated fats and monounsaturated fatty acids which improve blood cholesterol levels and decrease your risk for heart disease. The bad fats like butter and shortening (trans fats) should be avoided. They increase cholesterol significantly.