Did you gain weight during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown?
Hey, you’re not alone! In a poll of more than 1,000 WebMD readers, nearly half of the women and almost one-quarter of the men said they’d gained weight “due to COVID restrictions.”
This is not surprising at all as routines have been disrupted, stress has increased, and it’s unclear when or if things will ever return to normal.
People who could do their jobs from home or who are homeschooling find themselves mindlessly snacking while they work or study. Exercise might not feel like a priority with everything else going on. The average sleeping routine was also affected, and staying up late could be affecting your waistline.
When you’re sleep-deprived, you make moreghrelin, the hormone that tells your body when you’re hungry, and lessleptin, the one that tells your body when you’re satisfied. I’m sure you’ve experienced this too.
The big question in your mind might be this:“How can I lose weight or stay healthy amidst this crisis?”
The most common ways to stay fit and healthy are lifting weights, yoga, and running miles, but this can also be pricey and time consuming. So why not ditch the dumbbells, pick up your rakes or spades? Get healthy by spending more time in your garden.
Gardening for Aerobic Exercise
Did you know that gardening is a great form ofaerobic exercise? Plus, you might become so engrossed in your work that you don’t even realize you’re breaking a sweat.
Pulling weeds, reaching for various plants and tools, and twisting and bending as you plant will work new muscles in your body and help with strength, stamina, and flexibility.
You might be thinking that gardening is a boring activity - think again. Carrying bags of mulch, pushing a wheelbarrow, hoeing rows, planting seeds, shoveling manure, moving pots, pushing a mower, and other gardening tasks provide a whole-body workout, suggests a 2014 review of studies published in the journalAmerican Society for Horticultural Science.
All that digging, planting, and weeding burns calories and strengthens your heart.
“There are physical benefits from doing the manual labor of gardening,” says UNC Health internal medicine physician Robert Hutchins, MD, MPH. “It’s hard work to garden, and it provides some cardiovascular benefit.”
Gardening Burns Calories
You can stay home, enjoy fresh air, soak up some vitamin D, and grow your own food while burning hundreds of calories an hour. In fact, you can burn about 330 calories doing one hour of light gardening and yard work — more than walking at a moderate pace for the same amount of time — according to theCenters for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Isn’t it amazing?
Gardening, no matter your age, is a physical activity that can reap many unexpected health benefits. “When I think of the health benefits of gardening the first most obvious benefit is getting outside and into the fresh air,” says Gwenn Fried, manager of horticultural therapy at NYU Langone Medical Center’s Rusk Rehabilitation in New York City.
Wait, there’s more!
Gardening Benefits Your Mental Health
Caring for plants has plenty more benefits, not only for the body, but also for the mind and soul. It can do wonders for your own wellbeing; an abundance of scientific research suggests.
Physical exercise can contribute to a healthy weight and blood pressure levels, and just interacting withcalendula can improve your mood and mental health which can also help you to have a good night’s sleep. We also know that an individual’s cortisol levels go down in a calm, green environment.
People need this especially in this time of uncertainties and fear. More and more people have become anxious. Do you feel this too?
Gardening is positively correlated with a reduction in depression and anxiety symptoms, according to a 2017 meta-analysis inPreventive Medicine Reports that looked at 22 different case studies.
In fact, some hospitals even use planting and flower arranging as a type of rehabilitation for people recovering from injuries, strokes, surgeries, and other conditions.
Not only does it give people control over a situation when they might feel helpless, but it also teaches them a new skill that can restore confidence. They don’t really see a value in themselves because how they define themselves has changed, but being able to take care of something is a good place to start.
How about your mood, does it change a lot?
Gardening Boosts Your Mood
The act of growing plants may also help boost your mood. The2017 meta-analysis also linked gardening with increases in quality of life and reductions in mood disturbance. This may have something to do with how it changes your outlook.
"The thing about gardening is that you have to have faith in the future,"Fried says. "Growing something green, something real, something alive, is a hopeful thing to do.
And the most favorite benefit of gardening.... eating the fruit of labor!
Gardening Creates Self-Sufficiency
Having your own garden means that you are being self-sufficient. Providing your own healthy food can boost your self-confidence and can give you a sense of security because you have a food source just at the back of your house.
Many people have responded to this challenging time by starting to dig their coronavirus victory gardens. In just a matter of weeks, seeds, seedlings, and fruit trees sold out online and in gardening centers.
It turns out that gardening is actually a great idea — whether or not you’re coping with a crisis — because gardening is one of the healthiest hobbies you can develop. It can help you lose weight, stay sane and provide for food. It is like hitting 3 birds in one stone, right?
You can also do this to reverse the scale and feel better!
Again, you’re not alone!Join our community and let’s help each other fight this crisis, be self-sufficient and be more confident to face the day-to-day life challenges.
We want to know your progress. Leave a comment below and let us know what you think.
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