Weed, Baby, Weed! (Or Plant, for That Matter)
Gardening is a healthy habit! It burns calories, it works your muscles, and it increases your harvest. And while it’s good to dig in the dirt, the aftereffects can be a pain. That’s why it’s important to condition your core, and position yourself correctly so the right muscles are used:
- When planting or weeding keep your back straight (not hunched) to minimize back strain, and take breaks every so often to protect your knees and back.
- When picking up heavy bags of soil (or anything else) bend at the knees-not your waist- to engage your leg muscles. This decreases stress on your neck, shoulders, and most importantly your back.
- When pruning, pull branches to your level. Avoid twisting or reaching too far overhead.
Families who garden are more likely to get their 5-plus a day of fruits and vegetables.
- Kids who garden tend to eat more veggies (even when they go off to college). And everyone knows that eating veggies is a healthy habit!
- 6 easy vegetables anyone can grow: green beans, cukes, leafy greens, tomatoes, peppers and zucchini.
- The number one vegetable people grow in their gardens is tomatoes, with 86% of American households planting them.
Other Healthy Outcomes
- Gardening is a proven tension tamer. In one study, people who took a frustrating test then gardened for 30 minutes showed an uptick in their mood and a lowering of the stress hormone cortisol.
- Stronger immunity? Yes. Research shows that children who garden (and play in dirt) develop healthier immune systems.
- Finally, garden helps society. OK, that sounds rather grand, doesn’t it? But think about it: 72% of plastic wrap and materials used to package produce ends up as litter on land or in water. And if you grow it, you will eat it (freeze it, can it, give it to lucky friends) before it spoils. Supermarkets, on the other hand, often end up with piles of unsold produce, costing an estimated $15 billion every year.
So, eat well, feel great, and garden for good health. Get digging.