Feeling the need to exercise, clean up your diet or meditate? Want to be more creative, get out and meet people, enjoy the outdoors, and slow down? There’s one activity in which you can accomplish all of these objectives: gardening. Studies have shown that vigorous digging burns 500 calories an hour, weeding burns 210 calories, and mowing the lawn burns 400 calories. As a moderate exercise, gardening has been found to decrease the risk of heart disease and diabetes and a study at Boston University found that gardening was almost as effective as weight lifting in reducing the risk for osteoporosis in women. So instead of taking that indoor aerobics class this summer, try mowing the lawn or planting an herb garden. As with any exercise regimen, the key is to start at a comfortable pace and gradually work your way up to longer, more difficult activities. Your heart rate should be about the same as when you take a brisk walk. As always consult your health care practitioner before starting an exercise program.
Improving Your Diet
Gardening will also likely help you eat better. Re-search shows that people who grow gardens eat more vegetables and fruits than those who don’t. Growing fresh herbs, even in a container on the deck or balcony, is another great way to add flavor and freshness to home-cooked meals and an incentive to try new recipes.
Boosting Your Social Life
Gardening can also be quite social. Whether at a garden club, a community garden or an online forum, people love to share ideas, solve common problems and connect through mutual interests.
Finally, gardening is a great way to manage stress. Spending time outside and tuning in to the rhythms of nature we’re reminded to be patient, slow down, and breathe the fresh air. Whether growing flowers, vegetables, or herbs a garden re-minds us of our connection to life and the abundance that nature so freely gives.