Monday, November 20, 2006

Q & A - Gardening - Is it enough exercise?

Q - I love gardening and do about a morning's worth once a week. Is this
enough exercise? Should I perhaps try to do some every day instead of once a
week?

A - Gardening can be an enjoyable and rewarding way to get some activity into your life, it incorporates many movements that were once integral to our life, pushing, pulling, squatting and bending. To really get the benefits of an active lifestyle though, you’d be right in thinking that trying to do something active most days is more beneficial.

The British Heart Foundation tells us that 7 out of 10 adults are not active enough to benefit their heart, despite regular exercisers being twice as likely to survive a heart attack as those who do nothing.

Modern society is making it easier and easier to be less active, but this sedentary type of lifestlye is now being recognised as a risk factor for the nations biggest killer, Coronary Heart Disease. There is good news though, you don’t have to sweat it out for hours at the gym to protect yourself against this and the many other chronic illnesses that are associated with it, such as Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, Obesity, Osteoporosis and even some forms of Cancer.

For many of us, changing our lives to incorporate some kind of fitness routine can be the biggest obstacle of all, while many have contemplated it or are aware of the benefits of being more active, far less actually do, overcoming this and taking some positive action is the first step to a healthier, more rewarding life.
There is a saying, use it or lose it, and this applies to our body well, in the same way that exercising can stimulate positive changes, doing nothing can lead to degenerative changes in muscle, bone and organ function. In some cases even daily activities can become tiring and hard work. In fact many of the changes that people associate with ageing are in reality down to inactivity rather than age.
However, it isn’t all bad news and you don’t have to put yourself through the mill at the local gym to benefit from a more healthy lifestyle. Simply by being more active in your daily life and finding hobbies that get you moving you will feel benefits. These benefits aren’t just physical either, exercising has been shown to positively affect moods, anxiety, stress and even help depression. All this by being active for a total of 30 minutes a day (and you don’t have to do it all at once, research has shown these benefits can come from accumulating exercise throughout the day)
This means that by gardening, hand washing the car, walking to the shops, walking the dog, taking a bike ride, or playing recreational sport you can benefit your health, protect yourself against illness, feel better within yourself and be better able to enjoy your life to the full.

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