Here at Fitness Drum, we love any form of exercise that fits around your daily life.
It makes keeping fit enjoyable and easy to maintain (and something that you actually look forward to).
When we think about exercise, we often think about hitting the gym – running on the treadmill or weight training.
But in reality, getting your dose of valuable exercise is actually just about keeping active and including lots of movement in your day.
Gardening, like other activities and hobbies, can actually add some fantastic movements into your everyday life and contribute to a healthy and active lifestyle. Gardening features highly on our list of things to do in retirement that keep you fit and healthy.
So, does gardening count as exercise?
A lot of people don’t realize that gardening involves a lot of physical exertion. It takes a lot to maintain your garden. You’re using all of your muscles when you’re in the garden. You’re using back muscles, while you’re lifting and hanging. You’re using your legs to pull. A lot of core work as well.
Also, your plants might be a little bit further away from a water source so walking back and fourth to fill your watering can or to roll your hose back up will add up in terms of the amount of movement you are doing in day.
Doctors suggest that you get at least 2 or 3 hours per week for exercise. Moderate exercise such as gardening can fit that very easily.
This helps combat a sedentary lifestyle and all the negative health implications of a lack of movement in daily life.
Health and Fitness Benefits of Gardening
Breathe in that fresh air and enjoy the time you’re spending outside. Oxygen is great for your body, it’s great for your heart, it’s great for overall wellbeing. Take those deep breaths and enjoy that fresh air and oxygen.
Especially as we hit our 50s, we want to make sure we stay active. It’s all too easy to spend our days sitting while driving, working and relaxing. Days and weeks go by without giving our body the movement is needs.
As well as the full body workout gardening offers, it is really effective at improving hand strength and dexterity. This is something that often naturally declines in older age, so actively keeping on top of this can make a significant impact on everyday tasks like opening a jar or twisting a bottle cap.
For a lot of people, gardening also helps destress them. That’s going to really help you mentally as well. There are studies that show that plants make you happier too. They also help you with colour and scent which can keep your senses active throughout the day. The mental benefits of being outside, surrounded by nature and the empowerment to nurture and grow plants and vegetables is not to be under-estimated.
This impacts your brain and your mood – making it the perfect solution to unwind after a tough day.
Gardening really is the ultimate when it comes to combining physical and mental health benefits.
Gardening also helps develop functional fitness. It strengthens the muscles you naturally need and helps support key fitness metrics like balance and flexibility, that are all too forgotten in modern gyms and workout videos.
Gardening Workout Tips
Every gardening session should start with some stretching and a warm up. It may sound unnecessary but if your muscles haven’t been used, they need stretching and warming up before any moderate exercise or movements.
The last things we need is to pull a hamstring when faced with a stubborn weed!
Posture is really important when it comes to gardening in a way that will offer health benefits. Remember to always bend your knees and keep your back straight when picking things up.
For effective gardening workouts, you’ll need to do more than just watering the flowers – get stuck in with all aspects of gardening – mowing, weeding, planting, digging, pushing wheelbarrows, hoeing, raking, and all sorts.
To work your glutes and legs, adopt a squatting position while carrying out everyday gardening tasks. This will develop real functional fitness and allow you to build strength in muscles required to hold movements during gardening.
To improve your glutes and leg muscles, try pistol squats. This type of squat will help improve balance so you feel more confident in the garden. Regular squats are also great for strengthening legs and glutes, as well as improving balance.
To work your core, this will get engaged during activities like weeding and any twisting motion.
To improve and strengthen your core, try sit-ups and other core exercises.
Your arms and back are likely to get a full workout during most gardening activities. Lots of lifting, turning and holding tools will require arms, shoulders and back to be engaged.
To improve your back, arm and shoulder strength, try a Bulgarian bag workout for practical and functional fitness in these muscle groups.
Bodyweight exercises will all help support and enhance your gardening experience.