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.
Digging, 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.
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.