Get gardening and exercise at home

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Looking for ways to exercise at home? Start by activating your fingers - your green fingers. Gardening is a great workout. Beyond just pottering, nurturing a green space can accomplish moderate physical activity while enjoying the great outdoors. Now more than ever, gardening is an ideal way to stay active as you stay at home. Helping your heart, head and happiness, discover how gardening hones in on a hat-trick to health.

Gardening is good for your body

Gardening is as strenuous as you want it to be. However you approach it, you will find it is a physically active pursuit. The NHS identify moderate intensity exercise as any activity which begins to raise your heart-rate. They state that one way to tell if you’re working at a moderate intensity level is if you can talk but not sing. 

What is great about gardening is that it also incorporates muscle-strengthening activities, which most effectively complement moderate intensity exercise. Wielding the hoe or reaching for the rake offer strength-based exercises that can help tone the body.

According to Clyde Williams, Professor of Sports Science at Loughborough University, three hours of gardening could burn around 600 to 700 calories. Sowing and planting seedlings, collecting grass and leaves and raking the lawn can burn more than 250 calories an hour, while pruning and weeding can use up to 280 and digging more than 320.

The NHS recommend adults aim for 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity across the week. You could achieve this target with a bumper day in the garden or in short bursts. Whatever suits you best. As you can also spread activity across multiple days, gardening is an exercise in which you can sync your rest around the weather.

Gardening is good for your mind

Gardening gets you outdoors which means it is as good for your mental health as physical health. According to the Nature and Mental Health report produced by mental health charity, Mind, spending time in nature can reduce anxiety and depression. It states that being outside in natural light can lift a person’s mood. Soaking up the fresh air, listening to bird song and feeling the sun and breeze on your face, feeds your senses with colours, sounds and smells. It's the perfect place to disconnect to reconnect.

Through caring for a garden, you will also create for yourself and your family, a beautiful place to sit, relax and play. This is when the rewards of gardening will really fuel the feel-good factor. Watching the plants you nurtured burst to life will instil a well-deserved sense of achievement, but noticing nature, family and friends enjoy your space, will fill you with pride. 

So, as we spend more time at home, venture into the garden, workout and relax. Not only will you reap the benefits but nature will thank you for it too – feel your mind and body agree.

Wicken Fen - Male bearded tit with fledglings

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