Does Gardening Count as Exercise?
About the Author: Today's blog is from Shea Goulding, the founder of New Gardener, a gardening specialist retailer in the UK. Shea created New Gardener with the goal of promoting gardening to the younger generation and those unfamiliar with the art. He brings his experience and passion for gardening to New Gardener where he's dedicated to educating and inspiring others.
We all know that exercise is good for us. Science has proven time and time again that staying active can help keep us happy and healthy not only in the short term by releasing endorphins, but also in the long run by reducing our risk of countless illnesses, including cancer, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
The UK Chief Medical Officers recommend that adults should aim to be active every day, and do at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity every day. This means that the exercise should be intense enough to raise your heart rate up to about 50% higher than your resting heart rate, which in turn increases your breathing rate. This level of activity is enough to be beneficial to your health.
So, does gardening count as exercise? The short answer is YES! The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is the United States’ national public health agency and states that gardening does, in fact, count as exercise. There are two main types of exercise: aerobic activity (otherwise known as cardio), and muscle-strengthening activities. Gardening is a fun way of getting both of these into your life without really even noticing that you are working out.
Walking is a criminally underrated form of exercise, and when working in the garden, you’re sure to get a lot of steps in! Mowing the lawn is another great example of aerobic exercise in the garden. Walking around, pushing a lawnmower is sure to get your blood pumping. But what about strength training? I’m glad you asked. Digging is one of the most strenuous forms of exercise I have ever done. Pushing a spade into heavy soil, breaking the ground and turning it over works multiple muscle groups in both the upper and lower body, and will certainly leave you sore in the morning. But what if you don’t have somewhere to dig regularly, or you’re looking to isolate some muscles? Pruning and taking cuttings from flowers, trees, bushes, etc. with secateurs or pruning shears will have you feeling the burn in your forearms and the action for using these is just like using hand grips. How about squatting down to pick up a 20kg bag of compost or mulch? The possibilities are endless.
At Workout For Less, the emphasis is on getting fit and staying fit, however that may be. Running on a treadmill for hours or deadlifting until your fingers give out isn’t for everyone, but that shouldn’t stop you from staying healthy. There are so many effective ways to exercise, sometimes you just have to get a bit creative!