The new year is a great time to make healthy resolutions and introduce some new exercise into your routine. But don’t go straight to the gym and sign up to an expensive membership that you won’t enjoy! Gardening and lawn care can be a great way to get out into nature and get your heart rate up in an enjoyable and satisfying way. 30-45 minutes gardening every day can strengthen muscles, raise your heart rate and give you a breath of fresh air without having to leave your back garden. With so many benefits, there really is no reason not to!
Warm Up and Get Prepared
If you are a gardening novice or someone who doesn’t do a lot of exercise, make sure you go into gardening at an easy pace. Some gardening tasks can be quite strenuous on the body, so it is important to work to what your body can do. Warm up before you start to prevent injuries and ensure to stretch out the muscles. There will be a lot of reaching up and down and you don’t want to pull anything. Warming up could be something simple like a quick stroll around the block or some gentle stretching out of your limbs. Make sure you feel ready for a good workout and lots of gardening!
Getting prepared can include planning out what you want to achieve in your garden over the following few months. Break this down into smaller tasks that you can achieve over time. By having a number of smaller tasks on your to-do list, you can make sure you alternate the tasks and avoid putting strain on any particular point of your body. Get the equipment you need (i.e. planters, trowels, compost) and get excited to begin.
It is also important to keep posture in mind when gardening, as the wrong position whilst lifting or bending can cause injury. Lift from your knees and be mindful of what you are able to lift.
Good For The Whole Body
There are so many areas of the body that can benefit from a gardening workout. From mowing to raking, you can get your heart rate up, your muscles working and your whole body feeling better from that regular movement. There are also lots of things you could add to your garden to give you extra chances for exercise and movement. For example, take a garden bench or a low piece of furniture. Not only does this add to the style of your garden, but you could use it for some gentle step-ups to raise that heart rate. Or perhaps you’d like to have a relaxing space in the garden where you could lay down a mat to practise some Pilates or yoga exercises. Get creative with it!
In terms of actual gardening, there are lots of tasks you can complete outdoors that will get your blood pumping. Mowing, raking and digging are great all-rounders that will work out many parts of the body and most importantly, the heart. However, if you want to get more specific, you can work the glutes and legs by squatting to do some weeding, pushing a wheelbarrow or turning compost to work the arms and shoulders. If you spent an hour in the gardening weeding, you’d burn almost 300 calories!
Mental Health Benefits
Gardening and lawn care are not only excellent for your physical health, but you will also experience a wide range of mental health benefits. Planning your gardening, splitting it down into tasks and learning new skills in the garden keep the mind active and can prevent the slowing and degeneration of the brain. Keeping your mind ticking over and learning and remembering new pieces of information is vital, especially in your later years.
Being outside and having some physical activity has been proven to benefit you mentally in terms of mood. Having fresh air, some vitamin D and some time to focus your attention on a task are all great for lifting low mood and giving you a sense of achievement. That feeling when you first eat your freshly grown vegetables will fill you with pride and make you feel even happier that you started gardening. The endorphins released by physical exercise have also been linked to boosting your mood and leaving you feeling satisfied and happy.
Looking at your beautifully finished garden and the fruits of your labour is extremely mentally satisfying and will give you a sense of pride and achievement. Is there anything that makes you happier, especially in Spring and Summer, than looking out onto a beautiful lawn and garden? If you are struggling to achieve your perfect lawn, reach out to our lawn treatment specialists today who will be more than happy to help.