There is a lot to celebrate in the month of June – Father’s Day, Men’s Health Month, National Safety Month, National Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Month and a few more. But ironically, today, June 6th is National Gardening Exercise Day and I find it quite fitting especially since one of my favorite places in Charleston to walk and relax is Colonial Lake; and this beautiful location just had its grand reopening this past Saturday, June 4th.
This public/private partnership between the Charleston Parks Conservancy, the City of Charleston and Historic Charleston Foundation was much needed and began construction in January 2015. Much of the project related to the sidewalk, water system and gathering spaces was managed by Wildwood Landscape Contractors. However, the gardening aspect of the renovation was facilitated by the Charleston Parks Conservancy and many of their ‘Park Angels’, who are volunteers that give of their time, talents and resources to beautify many of our amazing local parks in the surrounding Lowcountry.
As much as I would love to continue to talk about the progress of this wonderful renovation, what I want to focus on is the meaningful work completed by the volunteer gardeners aka ‘Park Angels’. After all, this is a wellness blog and today’s focus is on National Gardening Exercise Day.
So, why did these volunteers offer to help? And what do they get out of offering their time and hard work? Obviously I cannot speak for them, but I would imagine a few of these reasons come to mind.
- Gardeners (or who people who want to be a gardener, like me) really know how to enjoy the simple things in life such as the beauty of flowers, plants, trees. Simply put, they thrive on nature.
- Gardeners realize the pleasure and the amazing effects that gardens can bring to a person’s overall wellbeing.
- Gardeners like to share and give to others, even if it is (only) to offer a place of respite.
- Gardeners understand the purpose for conserving, protecting and cultivating our land for the future.
- Gardeners know that gardens can provide education, and the ability to build tighter networks within a community.
But what you may not know or realize about these wonderful volunteers and many other people who like to ‘work in the yard’ is that gardening offers many health benefits. Below are a few advantages.
- Gardening is great form of exercise so don’t ever snub your nose at someone who tells you they were ‘just pulling weeds’.
- Depending on your weight and the length of time worked, gardening can burn anywhere from 200 to 350 calories per hour.
- Gardening is HARD work! Lifting, pulling, or pushing with your legs, hands, arms and sometimes your entire body can burn a lot of calories.
- Gardening is an excellent fitness activity the entire family can do together.
- Working in the flower beds and even pulling those weeds can be very therapeutic. Need some time to relax and de-stress your cluttered mind? Take advantage of spending a few minutes removing those pesky dollar weeds and notice how relaxed you feel afterwards.
- Working in the yard, whether it’s mowing the grass, trimming shrubs or raking leaves, is a great way to add steps to your day.
As you can see, gardening not only offers several ways you can exercise your body, but it also provides a healthy way to improve your mood. But like all exercises or workouts, you should always ensure you warm up and stretch before you begin digging holes or moving plants. In fact, it’s a good idea to stretch your arms, shoulders, do a few trunk twists, and it’s especially important to stretch your hamstrings, calves, hips and quads (entire leg muscles).
Hope you enjoy National Gardening Exercise Day and if you have some time, take a few moments to enjoy the beauty around you. Plant some flowers, pull a few weeds, or just go for a walk by yourself or with your family or friends.
Do you like to work in the yard or consider yourself to be a skilled gardener? Share your thoughts or pictures. I would to see what you do.
Resources & More Information on Gardening
Garden tools and Man pics by Pixabay, Colonial Lake pic by Charleston Parks Conservancy, others by SAE.