A Sunday afternoon puttering around the garden, a bit of weeding here, mulching a flower bed there, doesn't exactly seem like an arduous workout. Yet studies suggest that prolonged light exercise, such as gardening, can burn more calories than one gym session, despite feeling much easier to do. How does that work? The key is the duration of the session. Gardening tends to be much lower intensity, but last twice or even three times as long as a trip to the gym.
When gardening, you are also exposed to more stimuli than the flashing monitor of the treadmill. The sights, the sounds, the decision-making can all serve to distract you from the intensity of physical work you are doing. Images and recordings of natural environments have been shown to reduce feelings of pain and anxiety, help to lessen the need for anaesthesia and even improve healing times in hospital wards.
But it is when these are used in tandem with exercise that even more intriguing results are uncovered. One trial in the International Journal of Environmental Health Research reported that while exercise alone helped lower blood pressure, improve mood and self-esteem, exercising with a view of the natural world could have a synergistic effect, with subjects reporting significantly greater positive effects on their mental well being after such sessions than after exercise alone.
Spring is a perfect time to get out in the garden, rake some leaves, do some weeding, sow some seeds, or just walk around and admire the beauty of the greenery, scents and sounds. Doesn't matter if it's still a little brisk outside and the sunshine may not be as abundant, the fresh air and physical activity will be good for your health and mental well being. Take a deep breath and get your hands dirty, you'll be amazed at the results!!!
(Some information gathered from an article by James Wong)