How can watering cans help you get fit?Finally, it’s spring! Even though the calendar said it was spring a month ago, not until recently has it actually felt like it.
By: By Amy Reineke, Public Health educator, Alexandria Echo Press
Finally, it’s spring! Even though the calendar said it was spring a month ago, not until recently has it actually felt like it. Now that we are enjoying being outside again – we may be looking at those running shoes, or those rollerblades and admiring the dust that has collected on them.
What if I told you there is an activity that can provide strength and cardio training and increase flexibility. Plus – the activity can relieve stress and provide nutritious food. You get all that and you don’t have to buy an expensive membership to do it.
No surprise this wonder activity is gardening!
Gardening provides regular physical exercise that will prevent heart disease, obesity, adult-onset diabetes and high blood pressure. It also provides the strength training important in the prevention of osteoporosis.
Want some 8-pound dumbbells? Put gallon watering cans full of water in each hand. Another example is lifting a wheelbarrow full of gardening materials – there’s your bicep workout!
As with any physical activity it's best to learn proper techniques so you don't hurt yourself. Check with your doctor if you have specific concerns.
So if you haven’t planted a garden before, consider it. Gardening doesn’t need to be complicated. Have you heard the term “kitchen garden?” It’s a great way to plan your garden. Kitchen gardens have been around since the time of hunters and gatherers, but now they are being discovered by a new generation of people who worry about just what is in that bag of spinach and how much fuel was consumed to grow it and fly it a thousand miles.
A kitchen garden can be a simple garden that is planted around the kinds of food you enjoy most: lettuces for salads, herbs and tomatoes for Italian, cilantro and salsa ingredients for Mexican. You don’t need a huge space, even a modest-sized plot can provide the produce you can use in your kitchen.
Gardening requires you to use your head and your creativity. The time spent planning a garden and researching different plants is a great brain workout. Gardening gives you a chance to be creative. You can let your personality shine through in your garden.
Gardening connects you with people. It's like walking down the street with a new puppy. Everybody talks to a gardener. It's also a great activity to do with kids. Give them a section of the garden all their own. Some of the best lessons can be learned in the garden, such as delayed gratification and don't leave a rake on the ground with the head pointing upwards.
Gardening can be especially beneficial for people with special needs or those recovering from illness. Gardening promotes an increased range of motion, develops hand-eye coordination, improves motor skills and increases self-esteem.
Over the past few years special tools and garden designs to make gardens more accessible have become readily available.
Have fun gardening! Relax and remember your garden doesn't have to be perfect all the time. Plant a garden this year. Whether it's a window box or an acre garden, you will be healthier for it.