Lifetime garden fitness

Gardening is a physical activity that keeps a person healthy and can span a lifetime.

Spring is an exciting time where everything comes back to life. Song birds return, colors pop as vegetation blooms. Warm weather not only helps vegetation grow, it awakes the human soul. After a long, cold winter most are ready to get outside and enjoy the outdoors. One outdoor activity that is enjoyed by many is gardening.

The beauty of gardening is that it can be an activity that spans a lifetime. Many people start physical fitness activities that they usually give up for various reasons such as monetary, time or physical inabilities. Gardening is a physical activity that can be adjusted to one’s economics, interest, time and ability. Besides the enjoyment of shaping the land with your own hands and being artistic, gardening has physical benefits.

Gardening is a great physical activity in that it takes you through the full body range of movements – standing, squatting and bending. Gardening strengthens and stretches muscles. At times it can be an aerobic activity if you are not using many power tools to hoe or till the soil. Gardening is more than just planting, weeding and harvesting.

To start a garden, the first step is to know your location. How much sunlight does it get during the day? The second step is to get your soil tested. Is it wet, sandy, acidic? Once it is tested, you will know what it needs to make it balanced so plants can grow to their potential. Knowing what grows best in your area is the third step. Michigan State University Extension performs soils tests for the public and can guide you in selecting both vegetables and ornamentals that best suite for your geographic location. For information visit and

Once your garden is planted, it is up to you to support and maintain its growth by providing adequate water and attention. The attention you give supports your plants and your own health! Pulling weeds may be a chore to some, but in reality, it is a physical activity that provides full body range of movement.

Harvesting is another act of physical activity and the end result is wholesome vegetables or a beautiful flower arrangement that brightens a room and a person’s soul. Go outside and start gardening! What other physical activity can have that benefits that can be experienced for a lifetime?