I’ve been getting a ton of exercise through gardening the past couple of weeks. With temps soaring well into the upper 90’s here in the Kansas City metro the bulk of my heavy lifting has been carrying water to thirsty plants. Carrying five gallon buckets and watering cans filled with water is a great way to build up strength and endurance. There’s also been lots of raking, pulling, plucking, trimming and grooming that comes along with early season gardening.
Exercise through Gardening
WebMD credits gardening with burning 200-400 calories per hour. Pulling, pushing, bending, lifting and reaching are all activities that you might do when gardening so there is a lot of room for activity. To up the benefit you can opt for a hands on approach to your garden. Water by hand instead of using sprinklers. Mow with a reel mower or non-self propelled mower. Rake, till and shovel by hand rather than using powered options. Anything you can do to get more hands on will give you a calorie-burning boost.
Exercise isn’t the only benefit you’ll get with gardening. The availability of fresh, home grown food is obviously one of the biggest boons to having a garden. Gardening can also provide an amazing boost to your overall well-being by contributing to your sense of accomplishment. I’ve found that tending to my plants has even been relaxing and therapeutic for disengaging from the stress of a busy day.
Last year was my first real foray into the world of gardening on my own. There have been ups and downs. There was hard work that yielded little result for some crops. There were also victories in the form of sacks and sacks of produce. So much so that it was given away to feed others which I found incredibly rewarding.
This year things are going well. The heat seems to have drastically accelerated production over last year. There are tomatoes on every plant and even scores of tiny cucumbers starting to pop up. I am waging a tense battle with horn worms munching on the tomato plants and have resorted to a light spraying of Bt as of last night. The heat has nuked the strawberry plants, but hopefully they will rally if the temp gets back down to normal or we get some much needed rain. The peppers are a bit sparse, but I don’t seem to have much luck with peppers at all. The herbs are flourishing, though cilantro has already decided to bolt. I’m already looking forward to picking and enjoying those first veggies. Until then I’ll continue to enjoy my exercise through gardening and all the benefits it has to offer.
About the Author
Alicen Ronan is a Kansas City personal trainer, fitness coach and writer. She has been a certified personal trainer since 2009 when she decided that she wanted to help others make positive lifestyle changes. She is available for personal training and fitness coaching 7 days a week both in the Kansas City metro and virtually.
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