• Lindsay RN - SMDHU

Gardening and physical activity - what's the link?

Did you know that gardening is a great way to be physically active? Not only does gardening get us moving in ways that are good for our overall health, it also helps us to get outside, connect with nature and meet people in our community! You can also choose to use active transportation to get to and from a local community garden, which helps you to include more physical activity in your day.

Being physically active can lower the risk of developing certain chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and some cancers. Being physically active can help relieve tension and stress, can help you have more energy and feel good about yourself. Physical activity also builds strong muscles and bones.

Thinking about becoming and staying physically active? Here are some things to think about when getting started:

- Complete this Get Active Questionnaire as you prepare to become more physically active. Refer to the Reference Document if you have answered ‘yes’ to questions on the Get Active Questionnaire.

- Start slowly. Physical activity doesn’t have to be hard or take a lot of time to be helpful.

- Fit physical activity into things you already do, and make it part of your daily routine. For example, use a push mower instead of a riding mower, walk to school or the store instead of driving, or take the stairs instead of the elevator.

- Stay hydrated by drinking water while being physically active.

- Warm up before and stretch after physical activity.

- Set goals that are small and realistic. When you reach a goal, celebrate in a healthy way.

Here are some ways to keep motivated:

- Track your physical activity to help you to meet your goals (there are many tools you can use, including wearable activity trackers, free apps for mobile devices, etc.). Keep a record of what sort of activity you do, how long, and how active you were (e.g. less active, fairly active, or very active). Record the people, events or situations that helped you to be active or got in the way of your plans.

- Download a copy of the 10,000 Steps tracking booklet from the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit. The booklet is useful if you’re using a pedometer.

- Choose activities you enjoy. The more you look forward to being active, the more likely you will make time for it. Explore local parks and trails with family and friends.

- Invite a friend or family member to join you. It’s a great way to build and strengthen relationships. Having a partner can also motivate you to stick to your goals.

- Plan active play time with your family. By being physically active, you can become a role model for your children and grandchildren.

- Keep trying. It may take several tries to include physical activity in your daily routine. Don’t worry if you don’t succeed the first time, just stick with it.

Do you know how much physical activity you need to be healthy? See here - http://www.simcoemuskokahealth.org/Topics/PhysicalActivity/Guidelines.

Take the time to think about how to get out and be active in your community today!

Information provided by Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit. Image sourced from Unsplash.com.

© 2020 by Urban Pantry, a program of CMHA funded by Ontario Trillium Foundation