Gardening is proven to have mental and physical health benefits, and while the country is under lockdown, gyms are shut and movement is limited, we wanted to share our  Haskins’ top tips to maximise the health benefits of gardening.

Requiring physical movement, gardening can be an enjoyable form of exercise and activity can be adapted to reflect personal fitness goals and abilities.

Some activities are more intense than others, but research shows that gardening for 30 minutes a day can help achieve weight loss, increased flexibility, stronger joints and reduce a high blood pressure.

Digging is generally one of the more intense gardening jobs, followed by raking, weeding and mulching. Sowing, watering and planting are less intense, but still provide movement of the body.

Our gardening workout guide will not only provide you with the recommended gardening maintenance that is required at this time of year, but will also encourage you to get your entire body moving:

garden-weeding

Some activities are more intense than others, but research shows that gardening for 30 minutes a day can help achieve weight loss, increased flexibility, stronger joints and reduce a high blood pressure.

1. Mow the lawn

Get the lower body moving while mowing the lawn, focussing on using the leg and glute muscles to manoeuvre the mower around the garden.

2. Raking

Raking engages the entire upper body and provides a workout in the same way that rowing does, focusing on the shoulder, back and pectoral muscles.

3. Weeding

Squat down into a crouch using your thigh and glute muscles to raise and lower your body towards the ground. Engage your shoulder and arm muscles to remove weeds from the garden.

4. Digging

The force required to dig in the garden engages the body in a similar way that using weights at the gym does. Digging can engage the entire body when executed correctly.

In order to fully reap the benefits from these suggested exercises, ensure that when gardening you are undertaking regular, sustained activity. For a more intense workout, try exaggerating movements and increasing the speed in which activities are carried out.

Always remember to safely undertake all physical activity, however strenuous, and ensure that you are lifting items correctly using your legs and not straining the back. Where you can, engage both sides of the body when undertaking garden activity, to ensure equal balance. For example, swap the digging foot regularly. It’s also important to stay hydrated and to regularly apply sunscreen throughout the day, and not to let the muscles stiffen up after your workout.