Neglecting your outdoor chores to fit in your fitness is now a thing of the past. Research released by two
South Korean universities shows garden-variety tasks can be a real workout for generations young and old, according to a study published HortTechnology. If you’ve ever worked in the dirt or raked a pile of leaves, you already know that your muscles come into play. Still the scientists wanted to know just how much, and put ten different outdoor activities to the test. Planting transplants, mixing growing medium, watering, harvesting, sowing, hoeing, mulching, raking, and weeding all ranked as moderate intensity, and digging came in as high intensity. Results showed that these common gardening tasks done for five minutes each, along with five-minute breathers, can grow muscles in addition to a green thumb.
If you’ve got a garden or a green space, it’s time to get outside. Your workout awaits in the yard, and here are a few fitness ideas to try if your
hand is already perfectly manicured.
Bucket Shrugs and Rows: Tone your traps, shoulders, and back by filling up buckets with water, sand, or dirt. Keep the work focused in your traps and shoulders with shrugs. Starting with good posture, raise your shoulders up and toward the back your skull, squeezing the muscles as you go. To work more of your back, switch to rows. Stand with feet at hip-width distance and bent slightly forward from your hips. Pick up the buckets so that the handles are parallel with hips and your palms face your body. Engage your back muscles and raise the buckets as if you are rowing a boat. Adjust the weight by increasing or decreasing the buckets’ contents.
Lawn Lunges: Enjoy the freshly cut grass smell with walking lunges that traverse the yard. Take a step that allows you to lower your pelvis straight down toward the lawn while keeping your knee in a 90-degree angle, so that your knee doesn’t move over your toes. Rise up from the lunge and move immediately into the next step.
Battling Hoses: Ropes are typically the way to get your arms fired up, but there is no reason a hose can’t make a good stand-in. With a hose that is at least 20 feet in length, fold it in half and add a weight in the middle. Pull each half out straight, and put one end in each hand. There are lots of battling “hose” exercises you can do. A good one to start with is alternating waves. Alternate each hose end up and down as fast and as hard as you can. Start with a 30 seconds, before moving into a second exercise, parallel waves. This is the same move, but your hands and arms move in sync with one another.
Weeding Squats: Weeds come with the garden territory. Get rid of them while upping the workout ante by staying in a squat position instead of kneeling or sitting. When you start to feel the burn–and not from the sun on your shoulders–stand up and shake your legs out before moving to the next weedy spot to squat.
Yard work is hard work, so get out there and put your green thumb to good use. If you don’t have a yard or garden to get your fitness in bloom, community gardens and neighbors are sure to need a helping hand. And who knows? It might just pay back in the way of fresh veggies and a healthier you!
What is your favorite thing to grow in the garden? Tell us in the comments!