Plant the Seeds for Strength

by Mackenzie M. | March 26th, 2013 | Core, Strength Training

beetsThe permafrost that has blanketed much of the United States for five months is finally beginning to thaw. This means that gardeners are gearing up for the spring planting season. While many understand that a day of gardening is hard work, few realize that gardening is actually a great way to build core strength and to burn hundreds of calories. Several studies have recently been released that suggest that gardening is more than just a therapeutic hobby; it is actually a strength training method.

To begin, gardeners must churn up the soil after the long winter. This not only involves physically moving tons of soil 0n the ground, but also carrying heavy bags of new soil and fertilizer into the garden. Even carrying small and mid sized bags of soil can strengthen arm, leg, and core muscles. Even the beginning steps of planting a garden rank as moderate to strenuous forms of exercise, comparable to walking or biking. For the maximum benefit, one must garden for at least thirty minutes; however, many gardeners enjoy spending hours outdoors, so thirty minutes is an easily achievable goal.

For younger and older gardeners, it is necessary to start slow with the exertion of planting and maintaining the garden. Always do stretches before starting, and be sure to practice lifting properly. This means lifting with your legs, rather than your back. For older gardeners, it is best to consult a physician before starting any sort of exercise regimen, including gardening. From planting seeds to watering with a heavy watering can, gardening is sure to build muscles of all who participate. Even doing a little weeding in the morning and a little more in the evening will build some muscle strength and increase flexibility. Just be sure to do the activity in eight minute spurts of mild to moderate intensity to achieve the maximum benefits.

Some examples of strenuous gardening are actually proven to burn calories. According to a study from Iowa State University, digging holes can burn 200 calories, planting can burn 170 calories, and weeding can burn about 160 calories. To combat weight gain, simply perform these activities in your home garden for about 30-45 minutes. For an even greater workout, tilling the soil without a machine will strengthen the arm and shoulder muscles. Bending up and down to plant seeds will surely do wonder to you glute muscles. Bending over and stretching to weed not only stretches out tight joints, but it will strengthen core muscles as well.

Gardening builds strength, decreases blood pressure, lowers the risk for diabetes, and it can even slow osteoporosis. Overall, simply staying active will inevitable build strength and improve overall health. This is not to say that an avid swimmer or runner should begin to omit those exercises from their daily routines. Gardening is simply an easy and gentle addition to a workout routine. Not only does gardening improve core and arm strength, it is also good for the environment and will help save on monthly grocery costs. Get out there and garden to build strength in a relaxing and productive way.

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All health and fitness information is provided for educational purposes. Please consult with your physician before beginning any exercise regimen.