Friday, February 3, 2012

Getting Fit in the Garden

How many of you made a New Years resolution to "Get in Shape" in 2012? With all the holiday foods most of us gain a few pounds and resolve to lose then and often to get fit at the same time. Unfortunately like many of you I try to squeeze way too much into one day. In order to accomplish my to do list I look for ways to multi-task wherever possible. With gardening I can combine an activity I love like gardening with one that often ends up on the back burner like exercise.

Here are a few ideas for helping you burn calories and build your health and well-being while taking care of your landscape.

Get off on the right foot-Prepare for the gardening workout the same way you would for a gym session.
• Drink plenty of water stretch before you start digging, raking, pruning, planting or other fall garden activities. Maintain proper posture to help avoid injury. Keep movements close to your body and hands in a neutral position to avoid strain caused by repetitive movements. Look for ergonomic tools that properly position our bodies and increase our reach and strength.
• Bring on the Burn- Now we're ready to start burning calories. Seeding the lawn or bare spots can burn up to 155 calories, planting bulbs, annuals and perennials can burn as much as 260 calories per hour. Bigger plants like trees and shrubs need more muscle power and can burn up to 295 calories and hour when planting. Watering the seeds, blubs and plants can burn 260 calories per hour. Raking not only burns 260 calories per hours but also works the muscles of the upper body. Mowing the lawn can burn 140 calories per acre on a riding lawnmower, 250 per 1/3 acre with a power mower, and 340 calories per 1/3 acre when using a push reel mower.
• Tools that Tone-Don't let arthritis, bad knees or back problems keep you out of the garden. Look for adaptive tools and equipment. Along with special tools consider making raised beds, using containers and vertical wall gardens as part of your landscape. These options positions the garden with in easy reach, allowing you to keep moving and gardening! No matter your age, ability or fitness level, you might want to ask a friend to join you. (Next time work in your friends garden.) It can make your gardening workout less overwhelming and a lot more fun. When you are finished, cool down, relax and enjoy the beauty of the garden.

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