Column by Gary Church: Gardening pays off with health and wealth | Lifestyles

I received my letter of rewards from my health insurance provider the other day. It always makes me happy, because I get gift cards, just for completing a few activities.

One of the rewards is a $ 20 gift card if I exercise three times a year. It doesn’t say what type of exercise I’m supposed to do. If it was push-ups, I’d lose twenty dollars. Reading the fine print, I found out that I would receive a gift card if I garden three times. I have done this a lot more than three times.

Research has shown that 45 minutes of gardening burns as many calories as 30 minutes of aerobics. I can proudly say that I have never done aerobics, but have been gardening for over 45 minutes. I wouldn’t look good in a tutu anyway.

If you garden for 30 minutes, it lowers blood pressure and cholesterol levels. My levels are good, which could be from gardening or all the preventative pills I take. Get this, you don’t have to garden for 30 minutes straight. Eight minutes at a time has been shown to be sufficient. This is usually the time it takes for me to find all of my garden tools.

An example would be digging holes for 10 minutes and then sitting on the patio for an hour or two. When your rest is over, plant what you are going to grow and fill in the gaps. Then it’s time for another trip back to the patio. At that point, it’s supper time, so eat, rest again, then go back to the garden and rake for 10 minutes.

At this rate, you should have your garden planted by October.

I have to admit that I have the calorie-burning benefit over a lot of you. A person with a larger body will burn more calories than a bony person.

Some wise men have suggested that you use a push mower rather than a riding mower when mowing your lawn. I don’t care about negative people like that. You burn 101 calories in 30 minutes by mowing your lawn with a riding mower. If you use a push mower with an engine, that’s 182 calories burned in 30 minutes. I can handle the 81 calorie difference. In fact, sleeping for 30 minutes burns 36 calories, so if I took a 90-minute nap after mowing, I made a difference.

I still mow my leaves, but if you like raking them it’s almost the same as using a rower and burns 162 calories in 30 minutes.

A gardener’s exercise equipment can look a little different from the machines you see at the gym. Ours include excavators, rakes, shovels, hoes, hedge trimmers, pruners and wheelbarrows. I no longer use a wheelbarrow. I put the things I need to transport in a plastic container, place them on my riding mower and drive them to the unloading location. It’s okey for me.

You ask, but what about during the winter? Shoveling snow, which I do often, burns 243 calories in 30 minutes. If you use a snowblower, that’s 182 calories burned in 30 minutes. With the blower I have, I bet I burn so much trying to reverse the steam.

Another benefit of gardening is that it puts you in a better mood. The soil contains Vaccae, which if inhaled or absorbed through the skin will put you in a much better mood. That’s why I’m always happy and carefree, except when I’m at the drive-thru at McDonald’s and picking the slowest line to get in. If I ever have a stroke, this is where it will happen.

Hope you all have a very Merry Christmas!

Make your space a green space.

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