It’s always amazing to watch the thousands of commercials for work-out facilities, weight loss supplements and diet plans that fill the airwaves right around the New Year. Over the next few weeks, one thing you can bank on is that memberships to gyms will soar. So will purchases of salads, fruits and vegetables – all in an effort by people to honor their New Year’s resolutions to eat and live better. Maybe this is the year to put the two processes together and work-out to grow your own!
Mary and I like to think we belong to the best gym of all – but for us, the “GYM” stands for Garden and Yard Maintenance. Not only is membership free – it comes with an added benefit – we end up with our own personal farmer’s market reward of fresh vegetables. It’s a win-win in the live better – eat better mantra of today.
With no disrespect to those that work hard to stay in shape in all of those gyms – it’s always been more satisfying to get our exercise accomplishing more than just riding a stationary bike, lifting weights in repetitive motions, or running for miles on end. For us, we get all of that needed exercise working in the most beautiful gym available - the great outdoors! All you need to do is spend one day digging and planting in the soil, splitting wood, or raking leaves to know that you can get a full workout in the yard or garden. But one outdoor chore more than any other in particular covers all of the answers to eating and living healthier in 2014 – and that is growing your own vegetable garden!
Why Growing Your Own Vegetable Garden Is The Perfect Answer:
Growing a vegetable garden can cover every aspect of a healthy lifestyle. From the daily exercise you gain while planting, maintaining and harvesting – to the healthier food choices that it provides when it comes time to eat.
According to a sampling of calorie burning websites – gardening can burn anywhere from 250 to 450 calories per hour depending on your activity. So that little bit of digging, weeding, planting, watering, and harvesting can go a long way toward those goals of exercising and losing weight. But the benefits go so far beyond just burning calories. You are also growing and eventually consuming the freshest of fresh vegetables – which will be at their highest peak of nutritional value when plucked fresh from their stems.
Want more reasons? How about the added benefit of knowing exactly how they were grown and what was used in the process. Then throw in the mental benefits of getting outdoors, clearing your mind and absorbing fresh air and sunshine.
The best part of all – you don’t have to spend a lot of money to have one – nor do you have to ever worry about that sweaty gym smell or sanitizing the plants before and after each use! :)
Don’t get me wrong – I actually have always admired people with the motivation and stamina to hit the weights and the gym and work hard – and there is certainly a place for it. But imagine for a second if everyone that worked out in all of those gyms across america were to spend just a portion of that energy planting a small backyard garden, or even better – a community garden! Think of the fresh produce, the healthier lifestyles, and the community spirit that could result from it.
So as you head into 2014- think about the benefits that 15 minutes a day in your garden could bring. Think of that first taste of a vine ripened tomato, or the simple crunch of a fresh salad that you grew! And think of all those calories you can burn in the process!
Last but not least – before you say you don’t have the space – remember, you don’t have to own a big plot of land to garden. You can grow veggies in containers or raised beds – and if you are totally space challenged – sign up to get a plot at your local community garden. Where there is a will – there is a way. It’s great exercise that produces more than just a good workout – it produces healthy, tasty food that can become a bigger and better part of a healthy lifestyle in 2014! To help along those that are interested – be sure to check out the links at the bottom of the article on starting your own vegetable garden this year!
Happy Gardening – Jim and Mary!
Gardening Article Links: