Gardening is more than a simple pastime. It boasts many other benefits that help you live a happier, healthier, and more fulfilled life.
Spending some time in your home garden is a great alternative to going to a gym, where performing workouts indoors could raise safety concerns for you. Tending to your garden instead gives you peace of mind while keeping you fit and active. Not to mention that lush greenery and vibrant flowers are much more pleasant companions than a bunch of gym equipment!
There are many ways to mix exercise with your daily routine in the garden. It just takes a bit of preparation.
How to Exercise While Gardening
The American Heart Association classifies gardening as a moderate form of aerobics. These are a few ways to make your gardening/exercise time more productive.
1. Plan out your routine for the day.
Deciding what tasks you will do for the day allows you to properly distribute your time and energy for your plans. It also lets you anticipate how light or strenuous your activities will be.
Additionally, a routine keeps you focused. You won’t get sidetracked by other parts of your garden that you suddenly feel the impulse to work on, and it helps you assess which parts are for you to do and for professionals to perform on your behalf. Big tasks such as tree care and pest control could be more effective when done by specialists!
When you write down your routine, it also lets you keep a record of what you’ve worked on and what you have to do for the next gardening session.
2. Mind your form at all times.
Gardening, just like any other exercise, requires a proper form to be safe and effective. Since you will do many crouching and kneeling to tend to your garden, maintain proper posture to avoid injuries and sore muscles.
When you move equipment and other heavy items from one place to another, remember not to carry using your back. Instead, use your legs to lift things and keep your back straight to avoid straining your spine unnecessarily. Make raking and other tasks easier, too, by using long-handled tools so that you don’t have to bend down too much.
For tasks that need you to kneel, such as weeding or inspecting your plants for pests, sneak in some lunges. Doing lunges can make you physically stronger and build endurance. Just remember to maintain proper lunge form to maximize its benefits.
3. Do some manual labor.
Today, gardening has become a simpler and easier hobby because of the many automatic tools and machines that practically do the labor on your behalf. These are great to have, and they certainly make the job much faster, but skipping out on those to do it yourself won’t hurt sometimes!
Opting to manually mow your lawn, trim your bushes, and water your garden allows you to get some more cardio and stretching into your routine. In the end, you hit two birds with one stone by finishing your daily tasks while getting your needed exercise along with it.
4. Don’t forget to stretch.
Gardening does not exempt you from having to stretch your muscles. Don’t do it right before you go out, though. The best time to stretch is when your muscles are already warmed up.
Take a stroll around your garden first for at least five minutes. Walking helps raise your body temperature and gets your heart rate up. When you’re warmed up, you can then start stretching.
Make sure to prepare your neck, arms, wrists, and legs since you will use them a lot while you garden. Do some back stretches, too.
5. Take note of your exercises.
If you want a better picture of how much you exert yourself while gardening, keep track of your reps for each exercise or activity. For instance, use a smartwatch that counts how many steps you take throughout your gardening session. Count how many lunges and stretches you do, too.
This isn’t a requirement, but it is a good method of seeing your progress. You may even be surprised to see how much endurance you’ve built with time!
Sit Back and Enjoy the View
After all the hard work is done, give yourself a well-deserved break by just taking a seat and appreciating what you have grown in your garden. Surrounding yourself with nature can greatly affect your mental health, too, by making you feel more relaxed and boosting your mood. The next time you need to unwind, step out into the garden!