How one hour of gardening a week can have significant health benefits

A generic shot of a woman raking leaves. See PA Feature GARDENING Health. Photo credit should read: Alamy/PA. DISCLAIMER: This image should only be used to accompany PA Feature GARDENING Health…

Digging and shoveling can strengthen your muscles, says Katie Wright.

Good news for those with green fingers: new research reveals that one hour of gardening a week can have significant health benefits.

The British Journal of Sports Medicine study found that participating in muscle-strengthening activities – such as weight lifting, resistance training or gardening activities including digging and shoveling – for 30 to 60 minutes per week, was associated with a reduced risk of premature stroke. death and certain major illnesses.

However, tinkering with a few plants is not enough to make a difference. The researchers specified “intensive gardening” and said people reap the most benefits when they participate in both aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities.

Fitness experts reveal the best gardening jobs to boost your physical well-being…

1. Dig

“Digging is one of the best yard jobs for building overall strength,” says Alice Williams, qualified personal trainer at the OriGym Center of Excellence. “The motion of pressing down on a shovel with your foot and turning the floor over engages a whole range of muscle groups in your lower and upper body, from the quadriceps to the shoulders.”

2. Weed

It may not be the most enjoyable part of gardening, but weeding by hand is an effective exercise in strength.

“When you’re bending down to pull a dead, rotting root out of a flowerbed, you have to use a lot of back and leg strength, as well as grip strength,” says Jamie Lloyd, performance coach and brand ambassador. Bio-Synergy, which is like doing deadlifts in the gym.

“Deadlifts are awesome because they engage your whole body and replicate the same motion when you lift that giant turnip out of the ground – a great lower body pulling exercise that will set you up for anything.”

3. Mow the lawn

As long as you’re not riding a riding mower, cutting grass is another great strength-building gardening job.

Williams says: “It has all the same benefits as pushing a prowler sled in the gym. It requires engaging your glutes, quads, hamstrings, core and upper body all at the same time, making it a challenging full-body workout, similar to using an elliptical trainer.”

4. Lifting and transport

“Carrying bags of compost, soil amendments, rocks, or veggies in front of you strengthens your glutes, quads, and your entire midsection,” says Lloyd, so try ditching the wheelbarrow and hauling some yourself. chunks and bobs through the garden.

Be careful not to overload yourself and always bend your knees when lifting anything off the floor.

“You might be used to doing the farmer’s walk with a kettlebell at the gym,” Williams says. “Carrying two buckets of soil through your garden can have the same results!

5. Raking

Not only will this make your lawn look pristine, but raking up fallen leaves will get your muscles moving.

“The raking motion will work your entire upper body, but especially your back and chest muscles,” says Williams.

Lloyd compares the rake to “row” exercises, where you bend over and bring the dumbbells closer to your chest: “Rows are like reverse push-ups. capacity.”

6. Cardio

“In addition to building muscle strength, gardening is also a great form of cardio,” says Williams.

“Without realizing it, you’ll find yourself increasing your heart rate and sweating when digging, mowing and moving heavy objects around the garden. In fact, raking and pruning can burn around 200 calories per hour , while mowing can burn up to 300 calories.”

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Richard V. Johnson