Many of us view yard work as a chore, but did you know that digging, raking, planting, and other outdoor tasks can be beneficial to your health? Yard work can not only boost your physical fitness but can also have a positive impact on your mental and emotional well-being as well. Learn some of the ways that yard work can help keep you healthy, happy, and fit, and maybe you won’t dread it so much!
Do you often wake up feeling stiff? When your flexibility is limited, your muscles and joints may feel tight or rigid. Yard work acts as a total-body workout. As you stretch to push a mower or tidy up your flower beds, the muscle fibers and tendons elongate and blood flow is increased. Regular yard work can help keep the body mobile and flexible.
Exercise has been deemed effective in managing stress levels and improving mental fitness. When you perform yard work, such as raking or planting, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. Endorphins are a type of “feel-good” chemical in the brain that promote a positive outlook on life. Yard work also means more time in the sun. Exposure to vitamin D from sunlight can help to ease the symptoms of depression.
Enhances Cardiovascular Function
Yard work is an excellent source of cardiovascular exercise. Any task that keeps your heart rate elevated for a sustained period of time, such as bagging leaves or hauling yard waste in a wheelbarrow, can help strengthen the heart, boost blood flow, and improve the body’s ability to deliver oxygen to active muscles.
Increases Strength and Endurance
Light yard work, such as weeding your garden or digging holes, is a great way to tone your body. More strenuous outdoor tasks, such as chopping wood or laying sod or rocks, can increase core strength while targeting the arms, shoulders, and back. If you’re looking to get more fit, think of ways to intensify your yard work, such as using a non-motorized hand mower instead of a motorized push or riding mower.
Reduces Blood Pressure
Yard work is a drug-free approach to reducing high blood pressure. Exercise makes your heart stronger, which in turn allows your blood to pump with less effort. When your heart isn’t forced to work as hard to pump blood, less pressure is put on your arteries, which lowers your blood pressure. To maintain your blood pressure levels, it’s important to continue a healthy exercise regimen.
Boosts Energy Levels
While it may seem contradictory, performing yard work can actually boost your energy. When you become more active, internal mechanisms such as metabolism ramp up. As a result, more of the food you eat gets used as energy versus being stored as fat. This makes you feel more energetic.
Stress is inevitable, but there are ways to manage it. Not only are outdoor tasks like gardening enjoyable for many individuals, but the boost to your endorphin levels will make you feel happier. Physical activity can also help to take your mind off of your worries, allowing you to better focus on the task at hand.