The Ultimate "Green" Workout
Recently our own Xin Lu wrote a post on a motivating way to lose weight (a very interesting piece.) Imagine my surprise when a commenter spoke my mind by sharing the ultimate in “green” workouts! Not only does this daily routine give me tone and energy, but I’ll be enjoying the “fruits” of my labor in just a few short weeks!
Commenter “Shelle” shared her tips for getting in shape while planting the seeds for a season of delicious natural meals – gardening! And while I was already well on my way to having one of our largest gardens to date, I loved hearing that someone else was reaping the benefits of the most eco-friendly exercise plans ever:
Plant a big “old-fashioned” garden. (Shelle suggested 9 long rows. We kind of overdid it with 15 rows and an big patch of odds-and-ends, but you should stick to whatever you can manage in a season.)
Commit to at least 30 minutes of “workin” it every day. If you have a larger garden, this may take an hour. Either way, the dedication has to be there to make it work. You can expect that once you have planted everything, your hoeing, weeding and watering will keep you very busy and using muscles that you forgot you even owned!
Plan to take a lunch each day from the food you harvest. This is the best part of the plan! If you haven’t already felt the amazing effects of gardening, you’ll love the renewed sense of wellness that can come from creating meals from your own organically grown veggies! Salads, stir-fry, baked goods, and flower treats are just a few of the delicious and nutritious rewards of your hard work. Yum!
Shelle lost weight, saved money, and greatly improved her health. While I haven’t been tracking it as closely, I have knocked off a few pounds, lost 2 inches, and feel amazingly energetic (and shall I say a bit frisky?) My husband has enjoyed watching me emerge from that post-baby cocoon that moms can get into, and I have counted up the blisters as badges of my war against the weeds! I complain a bit, but it has been the best exercise program ever.
Some extra tips for getting more exercise and keeping the garden environmentally-friendly include:
Water by hand or use rainwater collected from your rain barrels to keep plants hydrated. Hoses are also nice, but try to avoid letting the sprinkler do all the work.
Weed. Weed. Weed. There are lots of organic weeding tonics on the market, but none are as effective as pulling them yourself when they are tiny. You can hoe them once your veggies get a bit bigger. The hard work put in early will pay off, and your tummy and back muscles can get really toned from doing this.
Pick early and often. When plants start to bear edibles, pick them as often as they put on. This will encourage a bountiful harvest, and you can prolong the growing season by keeping the veggies from getting too large before you pick them.
Eat the flowers! They are delicious, and I have done this in the past with beautiful results. (See some recipes in my edible flower article.)
While it’s a little late in some areas of the country to begin a garden from seed, there are still plenty of late-season items that can be transplanted for a few more weeks. Visit your local nursery for some ideas for veggies you can get started with right away.
Thanks to Shelle for chiming in with the ultimate in “green” workouts!