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A gym in your garden!

Gardening, a sure-fire way to gain good health and keep it too:

Gardening is a great way to lose weight

Take it from one who has learnt the benefits of gardening in the best way possible. It is a sure way to shed the extra pounds while enjoying being with nature. Hard work in the garden immensely satisfying.

There is weeding, pushing and pulling, pruning, trimming, hacking, planting. It is like taking care of a child, requiring constant care and attention. All that manual labour helps you get in touch with parts of the body. You have almost forgotten about. By and by you will lose weight, and look and feel so much the better for it. Head in to the garden, hat on head and shears in hand is an excellent motivation to take in the fresh air. Lo and behold, your garden had turned into your personal gym!

One of the great things about gardening is that it leaves you with no choice: you just have to move your body this way and that, kneeling, squatting, sitting on your haunches. Think about it. Bending to get at a dry twig above ear level. Going down on your knees to clean a particular square of a flower bed. Stretching sideways to pick a tomato or two from your vegetable patch. Basically what you are doing is bending and stretching exercises, giving your joints a gentle work out.

Mowing the lawn for an hour, it helps burn something like 400 calories.

Jogging for a full four miles, would burn about the same amount. Traditional gymming with stationary cycling and weightlifting helps burn around 600 calories per session. Raking, weeding and pruning help one lose about the same amount. And here’s the best thing: you burn fat in shorter bursts in the gym or while doing some intense, timed activity. When gardening, though, you burn energy more steadily, which is more effective when trying to lose weight.

Those who have been gardening for a long time will tell you that building and maintaining a compost heap, sorting fallen branches and spreading mulch are all high on the keep-fit chart. However, one doesn’t need to do all that straight away. Gentler tasks include tidying the garden, sowing seeds and weeding patch by patch.

If you do not possess a garden, if you live in an apartment, do not despair. However, you can embark on a balcony garden with a whole lot of potted plants and a small patch of turf, too.

This small piece of garden requires just as much time, attention and energy as a large garden. Potting, mulching, weeding, raking, pruning, cutting back, all of it keeps you busy, keeps your body on the move. Good for the body, great for the mind. There is a saying that gardeners live longer.

The Hindu


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