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The good news is that gardening is like practising a sport! So you can enjoy the benefits of sport while you get some fresh air in your garden/balcony/vegetable patch...
When it comes to gardening, this doesn't necessarily mean that gardening is an excellent way of practising sport and staying in shape. Yes, once you've given it a go, you won't be able to do without it!
The well-being, medicine and sports health research institute put forward a comparative study that yielded the following results :
- Mowing the lawn with a lawnmower for 1 hour = 1 hour of recreational downhill skiing
- Digging for 1 hour = 1 hour of recreational freestyle swimming
- Hoeing for 2 hours = 1 hour of jogging at 10 km/h - Hand planting for 1 hour = 1 hour of table tennis = 1 hour of recreational cycling (8 to 10 km/h)
Mowing the lawn for one hour: 250 to 300 calories. Weeding and leaf clearing will have the same effect… Planting flowers also has a similar effect. Naturally, this will also depend on the type of tools that you use… Indeed, it's better to use a watering can instead of a hose as this will increase the number of steps you do during the day, or use a lawnmower rather than a tractor or robotic lawnmower, etc… You get the picture :).
As you can see, like any physical activity, gardening helps you lose weight. However, if this is the main reason why you are planting your seeds, you are likely to be disappointed. First and foremost, gardening is an excellent way of getting fresh air and being active. And for this reason alone, sometimes, the motivation you need does not always come easily.
Why is it important? While we're at it, it's worth recalling the WHO's studies that recommend 30 minutes of physical exercise each day. And yes, these 30 minutes can be 30 minutes of gardening! Gardening is an activity that exercises many muscles and joints, which will wake up the body and tone the muscles in depth. The varied movements involved will exercise all of the limbs of the body, including the hands, arms, and even the thighs. Gardening is also a great way of improving the flexibility of the joints, as well as your dexterity and balance.
So, while the studies are interesting, don't underestimate the other benefits of gardening, including the benefits for your state of mind: spending time outdoors, enjoying nature and focusing on an activity can help you clear your mind and take stock of things.
Choose from a wide range of gardening activities to gently get started with, for example, the daily harvest, some light weeding or the watering of certain sections of your garden by way of a warm-up. This gentle warm-up will get your muscles and joints moving before you start a more physical activity like digging or mowing the lawn.
During your gardening session, remember to mix up your activities in order to exercise the different muscles and joints, as well as avoid injury... or boredom.
Take care when carrying heavy loads! Do not put too much pressure on your back. Bending over for a long time, with your knees on the ground for half a day as you do the weeding can soon result in back pain. The ideal solution will therefore be to mix up the activities, take a pause and drink fluids in order to reduce this risk.
Taking care of yourself is also part of the secret of staying healthy :)
Whether you are kneeling, bending over or doing gardening tasks... as you would, after any sport session, you need to spend a few minutes stretching in order to avoid stiffness on the following day, or the day after that .
By doing a few yoga poses outdoors, you will feel great and spend a little more time enjoying the outdoors and waking up your body.
Keeping a water bottle close at hand throughout your gardening session is essential: not only because of the sun (during the summer, you'll also need a hat and some sun cream), but also to prevent stiffness.
Drinking a lot of water (before, during and after) will help to reduce stiffness, which has the annoying habit of occurring after you contract your muscles in an unusual and repeated way.
Gardening can also be part of a group or family activity, by spending some time with loved ones or neighbours in community gardens… As with any sport, gardening can be a very good way of maintaining and creating social bonds. As a result, the benefits of gardening together will be shared...