Fitness fruits of cultivating your own garden

Mon Apr 25, 2011 12:28pm EDT
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By Dorene Internicola

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!)- Spring is here and people everywhere are getting back to their gardens.

Experts say whether you're planting lilacs, squash or roses when it comes to the fitness benefits of all that pulling, digging, mulching and mowing, you'll reap what you sow.

"You get exercise whether you're mowing the lawn or planting a flower garden," said Bruce Butterfield, market research director of the nonprofit National Gardening Association (NGA).

"Some of it is more rigorous, some less," he added.

Last year about 68 percent of all U.S. households participated in one or more types of do-it yourself lawn and garden activities, according to a national Harris Poll conducted by the NGA.

"That's about 80 million households," Butterfield said.

And a 2009 poll found that of those, 38 percent gave gardening a green thumbs up as a great form of exercise.

The effort involved in planting a garden, such as standing, stooping, kneeling, watering, and weeding, can burn more than 300 calories an hour, according to the American College of Sports Medicine's (ACSM) Health and Fitness Journal.   Continued...

<p>Tulips are seen in full bloom inside Kashmir's tulip garden after its opening in Srinagar March 25, 2010. REUTERS/Fayaz Kabli</p>