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Lifestyle Choices for Wellness

Timely discussion on topics of health and wellness to encourage action and improvement in personal wellness.

08/19/2013- Gardening Counts as Exercise

I for one, am all about multitasking. The more I can get done in one foul swoop the better. Two birds with one stone is my motto! So when I ran across this tip, I thought I should share with the world of gardeners or those that tinker with the hobby, just how beneficial of a past time it can be!

Gardening is a great way not only to enjoy some fresh air and grow your own vegetables and fruits, but also to get some exercise.

Gardening activities–such as pulling weeds, removing rocks, trimming shrubs, digging, planting, and raking–require you to expend energy (burn calories). Physical activity can help strengthen bones and joints, lower blood pressure, and help manage stress.

Gardening is a fun, creative, and healthy activity with positive health benefits.

(30 minutes for 150 lb person)

Energy Expenditure

Digging/pulling weeds, removing rocks

200-250 kcal

Trimming trees and shrubs

150-170 kcal

Mowing (using push reel mowers)

200-230 kcal


120-150 kcal

Walking (slow to fast)

150-230 kcal

Want to grow your own vegetables, flowers, or herbs? Check out the many Yard and Garden publications Extension has to offer!

BONUS: Gardening, specifically fruits and vegetables, yields a great prize: home grown produce! What is more rewarding than a fresh, delicious, chemical free piece of produce to serve to your family for dinner tonight? It doesn't get more nutritiously or deliciously better than that. Except for that it does...

What's even better than that, you ask? How about being able to enjoy that summer fresh produce all year long? Food preservation has long been a flagship of U of I Extension and it is being promoted now more than ever. With a revised food preservation curriculum, Nutrition and Wellness Educators all over the state are offering new and improved educational opportunities surrounding this practice. These new program additions include:

From Garden Gates to Dinner Plates - Do you wish to sell your delicious jams, jellies, and baked goods at an Illinois Farmers' Market? If so, you won't want to miss this program! A newer Illinois law called the Cottage Food Operation Act of 2011 allows certain low-risk foods to be sold at Illinois Farmers Markets. For some creative, energetic people with an entrepreneurial spirit, this may be just the opportunity! The program will discuss the process of what you need to do to get started.

Yes You Can!: Preserving Safely - Wouldn't it be nice to enjoy our garden or farmer's market produce all year long? Whether just starting out or updating your food preservation knowledge this is a timely seasonal program. Topics covered include basic food preservation, most current methods for preserving food safely, and updated guidelines for home canning. Bring your Pressure canner gauge and have it tested for accuracy!

Preserve the Taste of Summer - Iowa State University has lent their hand in assisting the University of Illinois Extension food preservation resurgence. The eagerly anticipated online, 8 module course, "Preserving the Taste of Summer" , will be available for the gung-ho food preserver to refine their knowledge and become further expert in this practice. Once the 8 modules are complete, a person is eligible to take hands on specialty courses being offered by the Nutrition and Wellness Educator (Mekenzie Lewis). The cost for the online course in $50; please contact the Extension office nearest you and ask the Nutrition and Wellness educator for details.

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