It’s finally getting warmer, the birds are chirping, the flowers are in bloom. Why not get outdoors and enjoy it?
A great way to take advantage of the joys of spring is gardening. Growing your own fruits and vegetables has so many great benefits, including getting a great workout!
Think about it. Gardening provides endurance, flexibility, and strength. Pushing wheelbarrows, lifting bags of fertilizer, and shoveling all provide resistance training similar to weight lifting. You are working all the major muscle groups and burning calories at the same time! You can also get in a great stretching session from reaching for weeds, bending to plant, and raking.
Gardening for just 30 minutes a day will also help strengthen joints, lower your risk of diabetes, lower blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and slow osteoporosis. If you are new to gardening or have just been hibernating all winter, then pace yourself. You dont want to over do it.
- Begin with a warm-up like a short walk and some stretching.
- Vary your tasks to avoid repetitive strain injuries (i.e. raking right-handed 15 times, then left-handed 15 times)
- When lifting heavy objects remember to lift with your knees- not your back.
OTHER GREAT BENEFITS OF GARDENING ARE:
Relaxation: Gardening is a great way to relax, de-stress, refocus your mind, and get some Vitamin-D. Research on hospital patients has proven that those that we able to go outside for a stroll or had exposure to greenery had quicker healing times and were in better spirits. Studies have shown a link between ADHD and insufficient outdoors time. So plant flowers too! There is nothing like creating your own fresh bouquet to proudly display on your kitchen table.
Kids will eat their veggies! Have your kids help you in the garden or better yet, give them their own little section of the garden to call their own. Theyll have a sense of pride about growing their own food and will want to eat it more. A study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found that preschool children who were mostly served homegrown produce were more than twice as likely to eat five servings of fruits and vegetables a day.
Youll save money on groceries. A healthy plant can provide you with produce all summer long! If you learn to dry, can, preserve or freeze your harvest, youll be able to continue to enjoy your homegrown produce long into the winter months as well!
Fresh food is the best food! How long has the food been sitting on your supermarket shelf? How long did it take to travel from the farm to your table? Its a fact that produce starts to lose its nutrients the moment its picked, so why not pick it yourself and get all the nutrients you can get. Itll taste better and you wont have to worry about contamination that may occur at the farm, manufacturing plant, or transportation process.
You’ll help the Planet Earth.Growing your own food without the aid of pesticides will help reduce unnecessary air and water pollution. Youll also reduce the use of petrol and the resulting pollution that comes with it, from the planes and trucks used to transport fresh produce from all over the world to your local grocery store. Remember that though gardening is a great workout it should be an addition to your workout regime and shouldnt replace it. Like any other form of exercise, you have to be active for at least 30 minutes for there to be any benefit. It may seem overwhelming to grow your own produce, but its actually much simpler than it sounds. All you need is a few square feet of soil or even just a couple of pots on your porch. You can even rent a spot at your local community garden.
Many people gain a sense of pride and accomplishment from growing their own food. Its work that directly helps you nourish your family, and maintain your health. So go ahead! Take the step. Go out there and start a garden. You wont regret it. Your wallet, the environment, your body and your family will thank you.
And dont forget to stop and smell the roses. 🙂
Source: Alive Magazine, WebMD, gardening.about.com