Gardening is a hobby that can be enjoyed by all and may even help you live a longer, happier and more fulfilling life. Low to moderate intensity daily exercise is key to your health.  It’s easy to get started. Here’s how.

No excuses

Do you live in a large city? Try patio gardening. Many buildings today have rooftop community gardens. Do you live in an apartment? No problem.  Many towns today have set aside a piece of public land for a community garden.

garden for mom

Do you live in a house? Simply choose a sunny, small plot of grass and dig it up!  Add some new, organic soil that you can purchase at your local mom-and-pop hardware store (please not a big box store) and plant your seeds by following the simple instructions on the packet they come in. In many areas around our country it is not too late to plant seeds like Kale, Beets (you can eat the tops as wonderful greens) and lettuce.

Anyone regardless of age, experience in gardening or fitness level can get involved in the classical art and science of gardening.

Improve Your Health Span with these 3 tips

Here are three tips to get started on your garden while improving your health and increasing your life span.

Tip #1  Get some good stress

Research suggests low to moderate intensity daily exercise has been shown to increase health span and aid  life span. According to Harvard Professor David Sinclair, PhD. in his book Life Span, “exercise is by definition a stress to our bodies.” However, this is a “good” stress and can be accomplished by getting out of breath as little as two times per week for about 40 minutes or in as little as 10 minutes per day, every day.

Good stress activates Sirutins and improves health span

This so-called, “good stress” activates our survival genes known as Sirutins. Sinclair also states, “Exercise activates the survival network, which turns up energy production and forces muscles to grow extra oxygen-carrying capillaries.” This is all good news since you don’t have to do gut wrenching, high intensity workouts like CrossFit and end up on the floor for near exhaustion in momentary debilitating pain.

In fact, recent studies have shown that too many of those types of high intensity workouts are a contributor to systemic inflammation, sore joints and mental burnout. Now, I’m not saying there is anything wrong with hitting those intense workouts once in a while.  Instead I am saying it does not have to be all the time and in fact there may be a better way if longevity is your goal.

Can’t get to gym…no worries

If you’re not a regular gym goer, or if your gym is still closed due to Covid-19, try gardening! Consider this: long indoor cardio sessions on a recumbent bicycle under artificial blue light while staring at more artificial light from an LED TV screen vs. being out in mother nature, fresh air, under natural sunlight, connecting with the earth’s natural energy. Which do you think is more beneficial to the immune system, circadian rhythm and our overall mood? You guessed it! Get outside and breathe!

Tip #2 Gardening is not just a summer hobby.

You can start in mid-March. That’s right, depending on different climate zones of course but for many the growing and gardening season can run from Mid-March with the sowing of seeds both indoors such as tomatoes and peppers or directly sow in the ground with certain vegetables such as Kale, Red Cabbage. Broccoli and Beets. Certain vegetables such as Broccoli, Cabbage, Collards and Mustard are considered “cool season” and can grow all the way until Thanksgiving. Others such as garlic can be planted in the fall for a spring/early summer harvest.

Healthspan [longevity live]

Develop empowering beliefs

Mid-March to Thanksgiving adds up to two-thirds of the year spent grounding your energy and connecting with Mother Nature. Talk about de-stressing!  Perhaps more than ever, during the time of Covid-19 try and develop empowering beliefs rather than negative energy draining beliefs based on fear.

For example, change “I would love to garden but I just do not have the time” to “I have always wanted to garden. Now would be a good time to start as it is best to avoid public space anyways.”

In addition, gardening as a type of physical activity is not only good for us physically but mentally and spiritually good for the soul as well as gardening provides opportunity for meditation and momentarily disconnecting from all of our technology devices.

Tip#3  No right way or wrong way

Ever tried gardening before? No problem, it’s easy to get started because there is no right or wrong way to do it. For example, do you like flowers or vegetables or perhaps hydrangea? Perennials or annual flowers? Or you can just start your garden by purchasing daffodils or tulip bulbs this fall and have your first blast of color the very next spring. You get to choose what you enjoy!

One of the reasons people start off in the gym in January and fall off in February,  it’s just not enjoyable for them. With gardening you get to choose what interests you, and then do that. For me it is vegetables and Zinnias. I just love Zinnias next to my eggplant.

Start small

I suggest starting  small.  If you are new to gardening you may want to just start with a few pots on your patio and try container gardening. The point is, to start and to move! Pick up a bag of dirt, stick your shovel into the earth and dig up a small patch of grass, get on your hands and knees and get your hands dirty and touch the earth.

Getting gardening sweaty

Get sweaty, get a little out of breath by carrying a bag of dirt from the car to the patio. Or place a few seeds in the ground or in a pot, add water and sun, weed a little and observe what happens, learn from doing. Guaranteed you will get a workout from lifting, carrying, walking, kneeling, standing and just breathing in some fresh air while your face points to the sun for some vitamin D.

The bottom line

The idea is at the end of the day to have achieved a low level of physical activity that you enjoy. This enjoyment will lead to more empowering beliefs about yourself.  It will also improve your health span.  Congratulations! You are a gardener and a rock star!

About the Author

Pete Montpelier. Is a Health Coach and Longevity Expert. He is co-founder and lead health coach of Team Appollon  a peak performance, health and longevity company. Peter helps people change their daily habits that lead to and create energy in their life to do the things that they love for a long time.

Learn more about how to start your own garden. Click here for a free consultation 

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Guest Writer

This post has been curated by a Longevity Live editor for the website.

The content in this editorial is for general information only and is not intended to provide medical or other professional advice. For more information on your medical condition and treatment options, speak to your healthcare professional.