Could gardening be the best weight loss exercise?
Apparently, gardening is the world’s best-kept exercise secret. Other than the obvious – netting us fresh, better tasting fruits and vegetables to eat (studies show that gardeners generally consume more fruits and vegetables than non-gardeners) – it also makes us fitter!
Gardening is Just Like the Gym!
You know your regular exercise routine? Gardening has equivalents:
- Turning soil = Lifting weights
- Raking = Using a rowing machine
- Pushing the lawn mower = Walking on a treadmill
Each of these exercises (whether in the gym or in the garden) burns close to the same number of calories!
The exercise intensities of 10 gardening tasks for men and women in their 20s was studied by researchers from Konkuk University and Hongik University in Seoul, South Korea.
They found that all 10 gardening tasks were “moderate- to high-intensity” activities. While planting transplants, mixing growing medium, watering, harvesting, sowing, hoeing, raking, and weeding were all classified as “moderate intensity” – digging was a found to be a “high-intensity” activity and was the most intense task in study. Gardening is a Workout for Every Body Part
It works all the major muscle groups – legs, buttocks, arms, shoulders, neck, back and abdomen since lots of stretching, pulling and lifting is involved (reaching for weeds, bending, digging to plant a seed...).
It’s exactly how ALL effective exercise regimes are supposed to be structured.
It’s a Great Osteoporosis Exercise
All action during gardening is smooth and low impact, so there is minimal jarring and stress on the body and joints (unlike in high intensity aerobics workouts). This means there’s a lower chance of injury and wear and tear of bones and muscles. In fact, research says gardening is by far the best way to prevent osteoporosis as it involves lots of weight-bearing exercises.
Those who work in their garden have actually been found to have higher bone density than those who opt for other exercises (like swimming, jogging, dancing, etc.).
It Makes Us Happy
Picture to yourself two scenarios: Doing crunches in a closed-wall gym. And watering rose plants in a garden. Even the biggest gym nut out there will admit that the latter is a much more relaxed, a far more pleasant activity!
Science proves it too: gardening drops the levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) that influences not just our mood, but also our weight (particularly belly fat). In fact, a study done in Norway showed that those suffering from depression (and other mental disorders like bipolar disorder) experience a measurable improvement in their conditions when they do gardening.
That’s not all! Gardening has various miscellaneous benefits: