There is one phrase you won’t hear from most typical Americans.
That phrase is this, “Hey let’s go to the gym. I feel like doing a hundred situps.”
If I give most people a choice of an hour at the gym or an hour in front of the TV watching their favorite show, The Amazing Race and Dancing with the Stars will win every time.
We all know we need to exercise, we know we should exercise, and we know it’s good for us. But we just don’t feel like it, we just don’t want to, and as a result, we just don’t do it. According to the CDC, only 20.6% Americans are getting the required amount of aerobic and strength training they recommend.
I’ve got a solution that will not only give you the exercise you should be doing, but it will also be healthful, enjoyable and creative – Gardening.
Gardening gets you outside breathing fresh air, sunshine to create that needed Vitamin D and most importantly, provides us with an opportunity to move that creaky/stiff body that us seniors seem to be plagued with.
According to the American Journal of Public Health, adults who were part of community garden programs had lower BMI’s (Body Mass Index) and lower odds of being overweight or obese when compared to non-gardeners.
A Huffington Post article mentioned the stress relieving benefits of gardening even when compared to thirty minutes of reading a book. There’s nothing wrong with reading a book, but thirty minutes in the garden will be better for your stress levels.
Gardening will even help you live longer! According to a British report, people who were active and participated in activities like gardening, reduced the chance of death by 30%.
Another study from Korea shows the benefits of gardening for children also. The kids were give regular gardening jobs like digging, raking, weeding, mulching, hoeing, sowing seeds, harvesting, watering, mixing soil, and planting transplants. In the end, all the tasks were given shown to cause moderate to high intensity physical exercise. Kids don’t necessarily have to join a sports team – give them a garden to take care of.
So, how do you start?
The answer is – start small.
You can start with just a few pots on the deck/patio or a four by four foot square area. The trick is don’t overdo it that first year. If you give yourself too large an area to take care of, then it will become filled with weeds, overgrown and you’ll become discouraged. Smaller is better that first year. You can always expand next year as you become more experienced. Also try my “Easy Way” to start a garden.
There are lots of sites and books on gardening so I’m not going to try and duplicate all those resources. Here’s a link to my site www.ButterflyGardening.org. It has lots of great information and should not only get you started, but keep you going for quite a while.