Getting fit in the garden is a great way to incorporate physical activity into your routine, improve your garden and get some much-needed fresh air. In the current climate with a lockdown in the UK due to COVID-19, it’s more important than ever to stay active. So here are some ideas for a winter garden workout.
Even without the restrictions of lockdown, it can be hard to find time to get to the gym or fit exercise into our daily routine. However, by incorporating activities which you enjoy with physical activity, you can get some cardio in and burn calories, stay strong and keep on with gross motor and fine motor skills.
Even through the winter months, your garden can be a place to create a winter wonderland of colour. But it’s also a place where you can get a good workout.
Gardening is a truly fulfilling pursuit that will help to relax and de-stress you, whilst helping you to lose weight and gain strength. Also, if you’re growing fruit and veg in your garden, you can work these into your dishes to bring plenty of nutrition to your balanced diet. It’s a win-win!
Regular gardening can do wonders for your physical shape. In fact, three hours of gardening can compare to around an hour of intensive workout in the gym!
According to nutritionists at Loughborough University, mowing, digging and planting for two to three hours can help burn off up to one pound a week.
Just half an hour of weeding can burn up to 150 calories, and heavier tasks like hedge trimming can burn over 400 calories per hour.
Get fit gardening
From research by Harvard Medical School, here are the findings which show how many calories you can expect to burn in half an hour doing different garden tasks:
There are a huge variety of gardening jobs which do a great job at getting your body moving. To highlight the benefits of the garden activities, it helps to compare them to gym machines.
Bear in mind that to make the most out of your exercise in the garden you’ll have to put some welly into each job to increase your heart rate.
Raking or rowing
This time of year, is the best time to rake the falling leaves that have found their way onto your lawn. Raking will work your entire upper body including your shoulders, back and pectoral muscles in your chest.
Your legs will benefit too when you are picking up the debris and putting it into bags. Then use this to make leaf mulch which will help your garden further.
This exercise gets the parts of your body to work similar to those worked by a rowing machine.
Not only will you be helping your body but you’ll be helping your lawn. This is because leaving the autumn leaves to sit on the grass will damage the grass and even kill it as light cannot get to it.
Planting and pulling weeds
Pulling up weeds in your garden and planting pretty plants can get your blood flowing in your garden workout. These tasks focus on the shoulders and arm muscles, but your thighs and bottom will get a workout too because the squatting and up and down movements.
It’s also dormant season which means it’s the best time to plant fruit bushes like raspberries, currants and blackberries. Doing this will give you a head-start on your growing, and it’ll give you a task to get planting.
With regular attention, you can keep on top of weeds to ensure your garden looks spick and span, and to make sure they aren’t competing with your beautiful blooms for nutrients and moisture.
Swap for a shovel
Swap the weight bench for a shovel and get lifting.
Autumn is a great time to improve your soil, and you can do this by digging, forking and mulching. These tasks will get your whole body moving, using more force than tasks such as raking or sweeping.
Digging and forking your soil will loosen the area from any compaction that has occurred from use in the garden.
Autumn and winter are good times for this, but it’s important to remember that heavy soils shouldn’t be dug when they are wet because the soil structure can be damaged which will have adverse effects and decrease levels of drainage and aeration.
Before getting into your garden for your home workout, it’s essential to have a good stretch to get your body warmed up. Take regular breaks, keep hydrated and you’ll be in good shape!
Although we are in lockdown from COVID, you can still get fit in your garden. Digging, weeding and planting will bring exercise into your routine, get you outdoors for some fresh air and keep your garden looking glorious. So, get out and do a winter workout in your garden.
David Domoney is a Chartered Horticulturalist, Broadcaster, and Author. David has worked with a number of the UK’s leading garden retailers as a plant buyer and strategic consultant. With more than 30 years experience, in horticulture, David is as passionate about plants now as he was when he bought his first plant at a village fete.
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