Studies have been done on gardening as a weight-bearing activity, which we know helps to prevent osteoporosis. In a study done on 3,000 women, gardening tasks such as digging, raking, mowing, lugging, etc. done at least once per week, had a greater effect on bone density than jogging, swimming, cycling, dancing, walking or aerobics. Now this is some science that I can relate to!
While I appreciate the usefulness of gyms, exercise machines and the like, I just can’t help but feel that gardening is so much better. Simply being outside in the sunshine, allowing our skin to make Vitamin D which is known to prevent cancer, is reason enough to forego the expensive memberships and pick up my shovel.
A big bonus too, we can grow nourishing food, with vegetable gardens and fruit trees, tangible products of our sweating, striving, and yes, even painful muscles the next day. Also, when gardening, we are using all of our bodies: walking, bending, pulling, lifting, stretching, even contorting to pull that weed under the bush, employing bodily movements we were built to make.
What I appreciate most about gardening though, is that while we are getting the best exercise around, we are also creating something wonderful, practical and beautiful which enhances our psychological well-being as well. Seeing something mature from a seed that we have nurtured gives a special kind of meaningfulness to life – a sense of purpose and completion often missing in our modern day.
Garden Yoga is my sport of choice, and if you want to give it a try too, put on your straw hat and just go for it! You will not only transform your home, but your mind and body as well.
Donna Torrey is owner of The Garden Gate, a specialty garden shop in Pompano Beach. Be sure to check out Donna’s Garden Journal at DonnasGardenGate.com for timely gardening advice.