Fitness through Gardening: Get Fit in the Garden (cont.)
"Stretch first!" Lovejoy begs. "You'd stretch before going to the gym, wouldn't you?"
Restuccio also recommends concentrating on deep breathing while you work -- and increasing your range of motion, exaggerating the raking motion or the digging motion. "You can use up 500 calories an hour that way," he says (official counts put gardening activities at the 100- to 200-per-hour calorie-burning level).
He also recommends raking right-handed 15 times, then left-handed 15 times.
"If you think double digging (going down a foot, turning the soil over, then down another foot, bringing that soil to the top) isn't exercise," he says, "you haven't tried it."
Gardening is something parents and kids can do together. "Never make cutting the grass or helping a punishment," she urges.
"When I go into the schools, I see so many more obese kids than I did 20 years ago," Lovejoy says. "I think parents are afraid to let them out."
You never know where those seeds, if you will pardon the expression, will fall or when they will sprout. "Many of us probably had to weed the garden," Sandra Mason, an extension educator in horticulture and environment at the University of Illinois, tells WebMD. "A lot [of people] come back to gardening later -- maybe when [they] purchase a home."
Gardening as Therapy
The American Horticulture Therapy Association concentrates on the cleansing, calming benefits of being in the natural world.
Just walking into a fragrant, warm greenhouse can change someone's whole mood, Lovejoy points out.
Getting Started and Keeping It Up
When you walk away from the garden, however, it doesn't sit there like an elliptical trainer waiting for you to come back. It starts changing. The keys to making gardening a hobby you can maintain include:
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