Fitness

Get a Garden Workout

Is it possible to get a workout from weeding? You bet. Trim your flowerbeds and your figure with these fun ideas.

You know why people throw their backs out while doing yard chores? It's hard work! (Plus they're probably not using proper form.) Did you know that June 6, is Gardening Exercise Day? This holiday encourages people to maximize the benefits of gardening by doing "yard exercise."  Want to get in on this fun trend that makes your property look as fab as your body? Jeffrey Restuccio, a gardening and exercise expert, suggests the following tips to get the most out of your gardening workout.

Warm up by stretching your muscles for 5 to 10 minutes before heading out to the garden. Stretch again after 15 to 20 minutes of gardening.

Mix it up. Using a variety of motions at a steady pace, perform a variety of the following moves: raking, mowing, weeding, pruning, digging. Alternate between them, every 15 minutes or so.

Bend at the knees not at the waist, especially when lifting heavy items, and use long-handled tools for raking or hoeing to avoid back strain and pain.

Cool down by walking, picking flowers or vegetables or just enjoying the fruits of your "exercise."

Gardening as sport

A recent study compared the amount of energy expended among a number of activities, including gardening. We charted these typical gardening activities against more full-fledged exercises.

Doing this...  Uses as much energy as...
Watering the lawn or garden  Sitting, knitting or sewing
Walking, applying fertilizer to a lawn or seeding a lawn   Walking while shopping
Trimming shrubs or trees with a power cutter Walking at a moderate pace
Raking; planting seeds and shrubs Leisurely bicycling
Weeding; cultivating; trimming shrubs and trees   Heavy cleaning; golf
Carrying, stacking and hauling branches  Playing softball or baseball
Shoveling snow; mowing the lawn with a hand mower Aerobics or swimming