Flex Your Green Thumb: Gardening for Weight Loss
Spending time outside is a great way to become more active after having Lap Band surgery.
Gardening is a relaxing pastime, but it is also a great form of physical activity. One leisurely hour tending your garden will burn about 300 calories, while putting a bit more elbow grease into it will burn as much as 600 calories per hour. Spending time outside has been proven to improve concentration and mood, alleviate stress and increase your levels of the crucial nutrient vitamin D.
Gardening can be both physically challenging and meditative. You’ll be getting the workout you need to maintain your progress after weight loss surgery, but you can also use those efforts to grow nutritious foods for your post-Lap Band diet. As you watch your plants grow and bear fruit, their continued development can motivate you to continue growing in your weight loss endeavors.
Ready to get your garden started? Once your bariatric surgeon says you’re ready for strenuous activity, use this guide to make the most of your green thumb.
The Gardening Workout
- Warm up, cool down. Just like any workout, your gardening sessions should be predicated by a warm up session and completed with a brief cool down. Walking and stretching both before and after you garden will help you prevent injury, as will sticking to smooth, steady movements throughout each session.
- Schedule multiple sessions. Rather than spending one lengthy, marathon session tending to your garden each weekend, try spreading out your work into 30 to 60-minute chunks, just like you would for any other exercise routine.
- Build strength with every movement. Though it may seem counterintuitive, you should try to make gardening as labor-intensive as possible by eschewing modern tools like leaf blowers and automatic clippers. Using more basic tools will help you get the biggest burn out of every action.
- Keep it well-rounded. To help your gardening benefit all the muscle groups in your body, try to change positions or activities about once every 10 minutes. Be sure not to favor one hand or side of your body as you pull weeds, till earth and dig holes. Do your best to work at a steady speed, but make sure you aren’t putting too much strain on your body as you build strength.
- Gear up. Especially on a sunny day, you’ll want to have a wide-brimmed hat, sunscreen and other sun protection to prevent UV damage. Of course, you’ll also need to acquire all the tools you need to tend your garden, as well as gloves and other gardening gear like knee pads.
- Stay hydrated. Remember that gardening is a form of exercise, and just like if you were out for a walk or jog, you will need to stay hydrated. Keep water close at hand, especially if it’s a hot or humid day.