I'm not taking it easy in the garden any more. It came to me last year when a friend suggested I raise my garden beds higher to make things easier for myself. Now, ordinarily, I might agree. I am battling rheumatoid and now, lupus. This time, I paused to think. Are we, as gardeners, taking it way too easy on ourselves? Don't I garden, at least partially, to stay in shape? Don't I garden to get exercise? Of course I do. I write about it all the time. So, I figured, it was time for me to stop taking it easy on myself in the garden.
I get enough rest time.
Let's face facts. As an online writer, I do a lot of sitting. Sure, I make a valiant effort to get up and move every little while. Unfortunately, my good intentions don't always apply when I'm on a writing roll. This is my job, after all. If I don't do it, how will I pay the bills? So, all that time I spend tapping away at the keyboard is largely mental exercise, not physical. Sure, there is some stress and strain, but when it comes down to it, it's not really exercise. So last year I decided I need to work hard, not easy, in the garden this year to make up for it.
I'm already sick.
I've heard and even written about the impact a sedentary lifestyle can have on my health. Unfortunately, for me, I've seen it first hand. While I don't have lupus and rheumatoid because I sit to work, it certainly doesn't help. My doctor recommends that I stay active and keep my weight down to lessen the impact of both my illnesses. I was working on that already, of course. Still, I couldn't help but wonder, were all these easy gardening techniques I was using part of the problem? I needed to rethink the idea of doing things the old fashioned, labor intensive way. At the very least, working a little harder in the garden could help me shed some pounds.
Well, honestly, part of the plan was already in place. I had planned to plant a larger, conventional, in ground garden this year. That suited my new resolution just fine. Having a conventional garden forced me to get the exercise I needed. Plus, I got it doing something I love. I'm also building more raised beds than I had before for next year. Now that I've resolved to stopped taking it easier in the garden, I consider the exercise factor with each garden task I undertake. Isn't that just perfect?
Guess what? This year, with getting up and out more in the garden came something wonderful. Better health! I've lost nearly 60 pounds since last December. My resolve to eat healthier was a contributing factor, for sure. However, working a little harder and soaking up more sun has truly made a huge impact on my health. At my last rheumatology appointment, the docs couldn't believe the difference in my overall strength and endurance. It's not a cure but I can do things that were entirely impossible just a few short months ago.
How about you?
Oh, you thought you were going to slide under the radar didn't you? Ha! You should know me better by now. I'm not the only one who's guilty of taking labor saving measures in the garden, am I? Heck no. You're right there with me. Just think of all the ads for lightweight gardening hoses and other gadgets you're tempted by on a daily basis. Wouldn't a little exercise benefit you more? Isn't that one of the reasons you garden too? So, skip the shortcuts. Do yourself a healthy favor. Work hard in the garden, not easy. You might even be able to cancel that gym membership you never use.
Please note: Increases in physical exercise should always be discussed with and approved by your physician. The author is not a medical professional. This article is not intended to replace professional medical advice.
Portions of this article were previously published by this author on a now closed Yahoo property.