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Gardening is a delightful and satisfying hobby. It provides you with fresh fruits, vegetables and flowers but it also is good for your health! Gardening is a good form of exercise; weeding, hoeing, planting, harvesting, all give your body a good work out. Gardening also is a relaxing and spiritually uplifting experience, benefiting your emotional health.

Gardening as exercise should be treated like other exercise. Stretch and warm up your body before you go out to work in the garden. Doing so will prevent injury to vulnerable back and leg muscles. While you’re working in the garden, concentrate on some simple isometrics as well. Tuck in that tummy as you pull out those weeds.

While hoeing, use good body mechanics. Plant your feet firmly on the ground, spread to shoulder distance. Bend from the waist and knees; don’t put all the strain on your back. While planting and harvesting, squat from the knees, don’t bend over from the waist. You’ll be working your legs instead of straining your back.

When you’ve finished your garden chores, take the time to cool down. Do some more gentle stretching and walk around the yard a bit. Once again, treat your gardening session as an exercise session.

More than just physical exercise, gardening is also an emotional experience. Planting seeds and nurturing them with water and light is really a spiritual exercise. Watching a plant’s progress and tending to its needs provides a sense of accomplishment.

The quiet time spent in the garden is also a wonderful stress break. Use the time for reflection and meditation. Leave the world’s cares in the house and take garden time just for you. Doing so will provide you with at least one major stress break and that’s something we all can use.