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Is gardening classed as exercise?

All Areas > Health & Beauty > Looking Good, Feeling Great

Author: Will Mbanga, Posted: Tuesday, 25th October 2022, 09:00

It’s amazing how much marketing can affect the truth. I remember when machine training was all the rage because it was ‘safer and more effective’. The problem with this ‘fact’ is that it was a lie, or at least a misconception promoted by manufacturers of fitness equipment and often backed up by industry-funded research.

The Cooper Clinic in the US told us that aerobic exercise was going to revolutionise our lives and ‘boom’ – suddenly everyone and their aunt was a runner! The real beneficiaries of the aerobic training boom were doctors and physical therapists who made millions caring for all those who were injured. You see, knowledge is not power – but applied knowledge is!

Plenty of people buy every diet book, read every wellness blog or buy the latest copies of fitness magazines the minute they hit the shelves… yet they never achieve their fitness goals. While successive fitness fads have made us more aware of various training methods, recovery and nutrition protocols, etc., they’ve also given us more injuries and more (often contradictory) information.

Exercise needs to be smart, safe and challenging

While some of these ideas were well-intentioned attempts at wellness promotion, and others flat-out lies packaged to make money, the reality is that exercise needs to be smart and safe. But it also needs to be challenging wherever possible.

Very little in life is ever achieved without hard work. Wellness is no exception. Some professionals will say walking or gardening qualify as exercise. Of course, something is always better than nothing, but if you are physically able, why not aim a little higher?

You should be exercising as hard as you are physically able – this will, of course, differ for each individual. The New England Journal of Medicine (Volume 346:852-854 March 14, 2002) published a study and editorial titled ‘Survival of the Fittest’. The study said nothing about duration or frequency – it only mentioned performance intensity. The key variable that related to life expectancy was fitness, not total time or number of days per week. Those that were able to exercise the hardest lived the longest.

The most common excuse as to why people struggle to exercise is their perceived lack of time to work out, plan healthy meals, etc. Let’s think about this in terms of our available time. If you dedicate 25 minutes a day, four days a week to a good training routine, that’s just 100 minutes each week.

There are 1,440 minutes in each day. Multiply this by seven days and you have 10,080 minutes each week. 100 minutes of this total available time is approximately 1% of your time in a week. 1% of your week... When you think about it like that, isn't it a bit ridiculous when you hear someone, or yourself, say they “don't have time to exercise”?

Think about that next time you go walking or work in the garden. If that is all you can do, fine. But if you can, why not push yourself with a structured workout? Your future self will thank you!

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