Dec 28, 2006

Garden workout

We all know that spending some quality time in the garden, even if it's not quite power gardening, is good for the soul. But it can also be surprisingly good for the body.

For instance, a half-hour of digging and tilling can burn 200 calories. The same time spent trimming shrubs manually can burn about 180 calories, as can weeding a garden bed. Raking leaves for 30 minutes: 160 calories. Mowing with a push mower: 240 calories per half-hour. And my personal favorite, turning a compost pile, will burn about 250 calories in 30 minutes (although I simply can't imagine going at it for that long, myself).

It's worth mentioning, though, that it's all too easy to overexert yourself, because most of these activities are low-load/high repetition. So while the first few whacks with the hedge shears seem like nothing, after minute 30 you've probably earned a couple of Advil. Ease into it with these tips:

  • Start slowly, if you haven't been exercising regularly. Build up to longer times and heavier chores.

  • Warm up and stretch muscles before, during, and after gardening.

  • Take care of your back and knees by bending at the knees, not the waist, to keep your back straight when shoveling or lifting, and by using long-handled tools and knee pads.

    It's easy to forget, in this era of leaf blowers and power tillers and soil drills, how enjoyable the physical aspects of gardening can be. Take advantage of the next dry, clear day to get back in touch.
  • No comments: