An Effective Weight Loss Program – Trim Your Landscape, Trim Your Waist!

gardeining can be a great weight loss program!It’s no secret that exercise and proper nutrition are the backbone of a good weight loss program. Leading an inactive lifestyle and eating heavily processed foods inevitably lead to weight gain, a process that you can’t reverse over the long-term without changing your lifestyle.

Unfortunately, exercising and eating healthy food like organic produce are lifestyle changes that many of us think are unobtainable—making them part of our busy schedules and tight budgets can seem impractical and daunting.

Organic produce and gym memberships are expensive, and who wants to spend their precious time doing something as boring as running on a treadmill anyway?
Have Your Veggies and Eat Them, Too

But what if there was a way to secure healthy organic produce at an affordable price while at the same time increasing your physical activity in a way you enjoy? Good news—you can! Planting your own vegetable garden can satisfy your need for better produce, provide a physical activity that promotes physical and mental health, and help you stay well within your economic means. And the best part is that it means doing something you already love—gardening.

Gardening Boosts Activity Levels; An Automatic Weight Loss Program!

For most of us, the main goal of gardening isn’t to burn calories. It’s something we do because we enjoy it, and the results we’re looking for are a well-trimmed landscape rather than a trim waist. But even though gardening isn’t an activity you’ll find offered at your local gym, it is still an excellent form of exercise.

Gardeners are always engaged in some physical activity—digging, weeding, planting, watering, pruning…the list goes on and on, and all of these activities are forms of exercise. In fact, the wide variety of physical movement necessary for gardening promotes aerobic fitness, strength, and flexibility, and works every major muscle group. The very act of planting and maintaining a garden can raise your heart rate and tone your entire body, allowing you to be out enjoying the fresh air instead of feeling chained to dozens of different exercise machines.

Depending on how hard you work and the tasks you engage in, you can burn 300-600 calories an hour by gardening. A typical 180-pound man will burn about 200 calories in just a half hour of general gardening. Watering the garden will burn about 61 calories, while bagging leaves, raking, and planting seeds each burn about 162. Weeding burns about 182, and activities like using heavy power tools or mowing with a push mower will burn closer to 250 calories. Depending on how much you weigh and how hard you work, you may burn even more calories at the same activities. And, as you know, calories burned means weight loss!

Just like other exercise, gardening can promote cardiovascular health by lowering blood pressure and cholesterol and reducing your risk for heart disease. Regular gardening can prevent diseases like diabetes, osteoporosis, and even depression. Many people find that gardening has great mental health benefits, relieving anxiety and offering a break from the stress of everyday life. It provides time to think, solve problems, and even just relax and daydream. You can also give your brain a little exercise as you plan your garden and learn about different plants and gardening techniques.

In order to get the most out of gardening for exercise, make sure you get out into the garden at least 3 times each week. Keep moving around the garden, doing a variety of activities—you don’t want to spend a solid hour kneeling in order to pull weeds. As with any exercise, stretch before and after and be careful not to overdo it. Be cautious about lifting heavy objects and don’t spend more than an hour or two at a time gardening—especially if you’re a beginner.
Gardening Supports Good Nutrition

When it comes to weight loss, the benefit of eating vegetables cannot be stressed enough. Clinically studied diets, such as Nutrisystem and Medifast, emphasize the consumption of greens and other vegetables. It is not difficult to grow many of these in your backyard, and you’ll find that the taste of your home-grown vegetables is a huge improvement over the produce available from your local grocery store.

Fresh from the vine tomatoes and cucumbers are delicious on their own as well as in recipes, and you can grow a huge variety of squash, herbs, and other vegetables like green beans. Instead of spending your time trying to pick the least-wilted vegetables out of your grocery store’s limited selection, grow exactly what you want to eat and be confident that you’re consuming it fresh and at the height of its nutritional value.
In addition to the great nutrition provided by your home-grown produce, the very act of gardening outdoors can provide you with an essential nutrient: vitamin D. Gardening increases the time you spend outside, and sun exposure increases levels of vitamin D. Studies have found that increasing levels of vitamin D in overweight people results in greater success in losing weight.

Gardening Offers Healthy Produce Inexpensively

The healthiest foods are those produced organically, untouched by dangerous chemicals and pesticides. Even though most of us would prefer to buy only organic produce, the higher price tags can cause even the most health-conscious consumer to turn to produce grown with the use of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers.
A major advantage of growing fresh produce in your own garden is that you control the growing environment. Using compost instead of chemicals and synthetic materials is an easy and inexpensive way to fertilize your plants—making your own compost out of food scraps and yard waste is simple to do and makes use of materials you already have. It will also provide you with organically grown vegetables at a fraction of what a grocer charges, while providing you with a wider selection of the foods you like.

Closing Thoughts…

Gardening is an enjoyable activity that has numerous healthy aspects, including increased physical activity, better nutrition, and decreased food costs. Just remember that you must practice organic gardening in order to reap all the many health benefits of growing food in your own backyard.  A gardening weight loss program means forgoing the use of synthetic fertilizers and chemical pesticides. If you don’t plan to grow your food organically, I would rather you choose a different way to increase your physical activity and lose weight.

Next article: Six Secrets to Growing A Garden To Perfection

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