You might not consider Jeffrey an exercise guru; in fact, you probably don’t even know him. But he believes he has a fitness program for the times. Gardening. Jeffrey believes that people hoping to lose weight, gain strength or improve overall health should just get out and garden.
The value of exercise has been touted for a long time. The promise of improved health, decreased weight and increased stamina, however, have not tempted the majority of Americans to participate in regular exercise. Jeffrey, a nationally recognized author and lecturer about gardening and exercise, believes more people would exercise if they could include it easily in their daily routines.
He says that if people spent just 30 minutes a day hoeing, weeding, planting and mowing, their health would be better for it. If you doubt that gardening is a viable exercise, look at these comparisons by the Virginia Cooperative Extension Service. Trimming shrubs is comparable to walking 3 miles per hour (mph). Raking and sacking leaves or grass compares to bicycling at 10 mph, and mowing with a push mower expends almost as much energy as playing softball.
Restuccio’s idea seems to concur with a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The study indicated that 30 minutes of “lifestyle exercise” (read that as gardening) offers significant improvements to blood pressure and cholesterol ratios, lowers stress levels and helps control weight. With a few modifications, Restuccio says, gardening can also help build strength, increase cardiovascular capacity and improve endurance.
If you garden for more than 30 minutes a day, at least three times a week, both you and your garden will reap substantial rewards. Restuccio, who has written the book on aerobic gardening, offers these tips to turn yard work into yard exercise.
Restuccio also suggests to work at a constant pace, use manual tools instead of power tools, move loads in smaller quantities and make extra trips to burn more calories.
Once you begin to enjoy the benefits of being more active, you may want to take up other exercise,* such as walking, biking, aerobics or weight-training.
Even if you don’t have a green thumb, gardening can give you a lift that goes beyond flourishing flowers or verdant vegetables.