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Dig Into Gardening for a Mind-Body Workout

Nurturing plants can nurture the spirit

Looking for a new mind-body exercise? Try digging your hands into gardening!

Gardening relaxes your mind and gives your body a pretty good workout. Not only can you burn some serious calories, you’ll get some fresh air and have a great-looking yard when you’re done.

Studies show that being in nature has a soothing effect on the mind and body, relieving stress and lowering blood pressure, according to Karin Fleming, a registered horticultural therapist.

Reaping What You Sow

Here are just a few of the great benefits you can get from gardening:

  • Your own fresh produce for summertime meals
  • Fresh flowers to decorate your home
  • Natural doses of healthy vitamin D

Gardening can also provide you with a social outlet. Share gardening tips with neighbors when your planting is done. If you live in an apartment, help friends tend their gardens or find a community garden. Don't have a community garden in your neighborhood? Start one of your own! Rooftop gardens also are a popular hangout if you live in the city.

Safety Tips

While gardening isn’t considered a high-risk activity, you should take all necessary steps to stay safe. Here are five safety tips to remember for the next time you pull out your gardening tools:

        1. Respect the weather

  • Wear sunscreen and protective clothing outdoors. Remember that you can even get sunburned on a cloudy day. 
  • Have a cold bottle of water or lemonade handy to keep you hydrated.  

       2. Dress to Protect

  • Use gardening gloves and long pants to protect your hands and legs from bug bites, thorns, scratches, and poison ivy.
  • Use skid-free shoes keep you from slipping in mud or water.
  • Use goggles to protect your eyes from flying debris.

        3. Prepare your body for physical activity

  • Warm up your body the same way you would before any other exercise. 
  • Stretch your back, arms, legs and neck before you dig in.
  • Stretch out your muscles when you’re done gardening, too.

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