Friday, July 31, 2009

More gardening goodness

What activity suggested by the U.S. Surgeon General’s 1996 Report on Physical Activity and Health can reduce risk for numerous chronic conditions, including heart disease, type-2 diabetes, hypertension and colon cancer, and aid in weight maintenance and overall physical health? Could it possibly be the same activity deemed most significant for preventing osteoporosis in women age 50 and older in a 2000 University of Arkansas study?

If you guessed yard work, you win! Just 30 minutes outside doing a variety of gardening activities will reward your body and your mind. A 180-pound person will use 202 calories during 30 minutes of digging, spading and tilling. Thirty minutes of raking will burn 162 calories, weeding will burn 182 calories, and turning compost will burn 250 calories.

Compared to bicycling, aerobics, and dancing, yard work and weight training were the only two activities shown to be significant for maintaining healthy bone mass. Hmm, hop in the car, drive to the gym and wait for the machine I want while listening to spinning trainer bark unintelligible instructions over loud and obnoxious music? Or step out into the dappled sunlight to rake up some of my gazillion maple seeds while enjoying pleasant bird song and a light breeze?

Where's that rake!

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