Thursday 27 October 2016

The garden gym

Published 22/04/2015 | 02:30

Hands are cut bush clippers
Hands are cut bush clippers

Did you know that spending half an hour to 45 minutes, three times a week being physically active in the garden can help reduce the risk of many common illnesses? It's also a great way to get a total body workout, without paying big gym fees

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Better than a gym

According to one study, three hours of gardening burns roughly the same calories as an hour of an intense gym session. That's an impressive 600 to 700 kilocalories, around a third of the average daily intake!

Some garden tasks like mowing the lawn, raking and heavy lifting are great exercise for the whole body. However, like certain machines in the gym, some activities work specific body parts.

If you want to work on your abdominal muscles and torso activities like hoeing, strimming the grass and weeding on all fours are great. They will tone your stomach, while also getting some of the more tedious garden jobs done!

Pruning and turning compost will give your arms and shoulders a wonderful workout.

Weeding while squatting down will help work your thighs and also your gluteal muscles. Pushing a wheelbarrow will also help tone your thighs.

Digging holes for plants is the garden equivalent to lifting free weights in a gym. The activity works your calves, quads, and hamstrings. It also gives your biceps and triceps a great workout.

To make the most out of your garden gym, avoid machines such as leaf blowers. Use a rake instead! Also, for any jobs that involve kneeling, use a mat to protect your knees.

Exercise safe

It's always a good idea to consult your doctor before starting any new physical exercise that you are not used to.

When lifting heavy objects, don't forget to bend your knees rather than your back, this helps with balance and prevents back strain.

It's a good idea to vary the work you do in the garden. A good rule of thumb is to do one activity for 20 minutes and then move onto a task that works out another part of your body. You'll get an all round exercise and you won't strain yourself.

Irish Independent

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