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Is your Garden a Gym?

Next week is National Allotment week (who knew?!) so I thought it would be a good time to point out how effective gardening is for upping your physical activity.

In the spring time I tend to see a host of stiff backed over-enthusiastic gardeners who have chosen the one dry day in the last three weeks to overhaul their whole garden. Luckily, in Pilates classes we always have a bunch of moves that can be modified to mobilise them through the worst of it. By this time in the year most people have found their furrow and established their gardening routine, even managing to relax at times in their own self made, peaceful haven.

When it's your passion, gardening can be a great form of exercise. You get fresh air, Vitamin D, varied functional activity, bending, stretching, aerobic and strength work and in the end you've created a space designed to bring you pleasure.*

Let's celebrate that today.Here's a great article about using gardening as part of your exercise routine.

And some facts and figures based on 30 mins activity for a 10-12 stone gardener.

Digging and shovelling: 200-250 calories

Lawn mowing: 150-200 calories

Weeding: 100-150 calories

Raking: 100-150 calories

As ever with exercise, there'a also a bit of a cautionary tale. Gardening is full of repetitive movements which we tend to execute on one side of the body only. This is what leads us to injury and pain. Mime the action of digging and turning soil. Now mime it with the opposite hand on the spade handle. It probably feels like you've never done it before! Your twice weekly Pilates class won't be able to realign all of this one sided effort so start to gently bring even movements into your gardening routine.

What next? Are you eager to garden now but don't have space yourself? National Allotment Week's theme this year is "Growing the Movement", a celebration of all the hard work put in by voluntary association management committees, plot-holder volunteers and councils managing, creating, developing and safeguarding sites. As this is a "Contribute" article, why not get involved with your local town's gardening group? I know this blog goes out far and wide so please find your own but here are links to our local organisations:

They're always looking for helpers. Get active and enjoy walking through your home town thinking, "I did that".

Enjoy Good Health.

*(If gardening feels like outdoor housework to you, don't beat yourself up. Get your exercise somewhere else and keep your horticultural obligations to a minimum. Having somewhere to relax is just as important as working up a sweat.)

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