Cut the grass, trim the fat

10 tips to get healthy while you help your garden grow

Working in the yard burns calories. Heavy jobs, such as moving rocks, burn as many as 600 calories an hour, depending on your weight and the intensity of the activity. Even simple tasks like planting flowers can consume at least 200 calories an hour. The American Heart Association recommends such activities as pruning and digging among the ways to get your heart pumping.

10 ways to get healthy while your garden grows

  1. Gardening the old-fashioned way with hand tools will give you a more rigorous workout than if you rely on power tools.
  2. Choose a push mower over a riding lawn mower. Make a game out of it. Get creative in the patterns you are making in the grass as you mow.
  3. Instead of buzzing through your shrubs with electric hedge clippers, work up a sweat by using manual clippers.
  4. Before you start chopping wood or building raised planting beds, warm up with a few stretches, just as you would for any other workout.
  5. Lift with your legs, not your back. Sit your hips back and bend at the knees. Maintain a 90-degree angle so your knees don’t go forward in front of your toes.
  6. Think that big bag of mulch might be too heavy for you to lift? If you aren’t sure, don’t risk injuring yourself. Ask a family member or neighbor to lend you a hand.
  7. And while you are watering the impatiens, make sure you stay hydrated. Drink lots of water when you are working outdoors.
  8. Removing debris from your property eliminates tripping hazards and makes your garden a safer place.
  9. Growing your own herbs and vegetables provides you with a bounty of fresh, accessible produce, the cornerstone of a healthy diet. Serving food we grow ourselves also gives us a wonderful sense of accomplishment.
  10. Yard work can be an activity that brings people together. Helping one another complete a common goal yields social benefits.

It’s a joy to see plants bloom and change and create a variety of colors. You are not only rejuvenating your garden: You are refreshing your mind and spirit.