While I love walking, I don’t enjoy working out on exercise machines and have zero interest in going to a gym. I prefer solo activities so exercise classes are not something that interest me. But I do enjoy gardening and yardwork and have thought to myself, while breathing hard and sweat pouring down my face, that such activities must provide a good workout.
It turns out that science agrees with my theory. According to a recent CNN article, gardening for fitness is set to become a health trend. The article provides an overview of research that supports gardening as an effective fitness activity. Included is a link to a CDC chart that shows the calories burned while doing common physical activities. The CDC says light gardening/yard work burns 330 calories for a 154-pound person. That’s the same amount of calories burned as dancing and golfing.
What I like about yard work is that it’s a full body workout. From raking leaves and hauling heavy leaf bags to the curb, to pulling weeds and digging holes for new plants, you engage a variety of muscles and also get a cardio workout. For me, it’s not only about the physical activity but the satisfaction one feels after planting something or removing weeds. A yard tended to your tastes can be a serene space for reflection.
For caregivers of those with dementia, gardening is something that could be a satisfying outdoor activity for both you and your loved one, at least in the earlier stages of the disease. Yardwork involves the hands and rote activity, something that those with dementia seem to find soothing. As long as those with dementia are physically capable, getting light exercise and spending some time outdoors on a regular basis is recommended. Do be careful to keep an eye on your loved one and keep sharp gardening tools out of their reach.
Image by marinabridger from Pixabay.