While some people enjoy going to the gym, others see it as more of a chore. Run on the treadmill? Woof. Lift weights? Meh.
If exercise doesn’t excite you, then you’re probably not getting the most out of your workouts. If only there was a way to benefit from something not as cumbersome…
Luckily, there is. According to research, leisurely activities, such as gardening, can actually have just as many physical benefits as working out does.
A recent study, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, measured in participants what the study refers to as “leisure time physical activity.” After comparing the leisure physical activity time to the risks of cardiovascular disease, cancer and other various forms of death, the results were pretty amazing.
While the recommended weekly amount of exercise is 150 minutes, doing “leisure time physical activity” for just 10-59 minutes a week resulted in an 18 percent lower risk of all-cause mortality. And apparently, the more you do, the less of a risk of you have; those who engaged in 150 to 299 minutes of physical activity each week had a whipping 31 percent decrease in mortality.
“Leisure time physical activity” could refer to anything that exerts physical activity, but is more fun than your monotonous routine at the gym. So spending a night on the town dancing qualifies as a “leisure time physical activity,” as does walking, hiking, and swimming. However, one of the best activities for this kind of benefit is gardening.
There has been many studies in the past that has shown that regular gardening helps you keep in tip top physical shape. Whether it’s weeding, trimming, raking or whathaveyou, gardening can help you burn up to 300 calories in just one hour! Plus, related activities such as spading, lifting and tilling can help you increase your muscle tone and strength. That’s why you probably feel sore after a day spent in the garden.
That said, it’s always a good idea, like with any exercise, to stretch before getting started. Use a cushion under your knees if they tend to be in pain when you’re done gardening. And try to stand up and stretch every 20 minutes you’re tending to your garden to keep from strained or overworked muscles.
In addition to physical benefits, gardening in general has been linked to many other health benefits, including less depression, anxiety and stress, according to a meta analysis published in Preventative Medicine Reports. It also found that people who garden regularly had a better sense of life satisfaction in general Gardening has also been linked to being of most benefit to the elderly, helping to reduce falls and even reduced need for medications.
Plus, what other form of exercise can you say you now have an array of veggies, fruits, herbs and flowers? That’s right, none!
How do you feel about exercise? Did you know that there are more fun ways to get your physical activity in than simply hitting the gym? Are you a big gardener, or are there any other leisurely activities you engage in to try and keep fit?