With the turn of the New Year, many households now turn their attention to DIY, home improvements and gardening. What many individuals don’t realise is that this kind of regular physical activity is extremely good for you, because not only does it help you keep you strong and mobile, but it helps burn a few extra hundred calories a day. When you add this up over the course of several weeks and even a month, you will have burn’t a considerable number of calories. This is great news for those seeking weight loss and weight maintenance.
Regular DIY and gardening, uses many muscles that we often forgot we had. Paint a few walls and ceilings and you’ll soon come to realise exactly where those muscles have been hiding. Get down on your hands and knees to paint the skirtings, and your legs and lower back over the next few days will let you know they’ve been doing something out of the ordinary. Even picking up power tools or wallpaper strippers and you’ll soon start to feel the burn.
Using power tools, screwdrivers, paintbrushes, garden forks and lawnmowers all require a particular level of fitness and coordination. Performing this kind of physical activity increases energy expenditure and helps strengthen many muscles within the body. DIY helps to develop muscular strength and muscular endurance, as repeated exercises such as using a screwdriver continuously works certain muscle groups over a period of time. The same applies for using a fork and digging in the garden, where continued use of the legs helps work the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes and hip flexor muscles.
Plus there is the added benefit that DIY and gardening for most is enjoyable, whereas attending gyms is often perceived as a chore. Studies even show that when individuals are recommend to exercise and join gyms, this can lead to resistance and irritation by the participant. Thus gyms become ineffective and in most cases unsustainable.
The role of physical activity through DIY and gardening play a major part in health and combating obesity and other major health matters. There is increasing evidence that shows that DIY and gardening health reduce stroke and heart disease, and in the over 60’s it can prolong life by as much as 30%.
Researchers in Stockholm analysed nearly 4,000 adults who had not previously had a heart attack or stroke. All participants underwent a physical examination and were questions about the amount of activity they undertook at home such as gardening activities, home repairs, mowing and cutting the lawns and hedges, car maintenance and picking fruit. They were also questioned about any participation in moderate to high intensity exercise on a regular basis.
At the study’s start, those who engaged in high levels of home and gardening activities showed signs of being in better cardiovascular health, such as having lower levels of “bad” cholesterol and blood fats, compared with those who engaged in low levels of home and gardening activities, regardless of regular exercise.
During a 12-year follow-up period, 476 participants had a heart attack or stroke, and 383 died from various causes. The study concluded that those who engaged in high levels of home and garden activities were 30 percent less likely to die from any cause.
The main benefits of Gardening and DIY
- Gardening and DIY is enjoyable, thus tends to be sustainable for life rather than fits and bursts
- It helps strengthen muscles and helps with mobility
- It burns calories thus can help with weight loss and weight maintenance
- It can cost far less than gym fees
- Gardening and DIY can be undertaken and incorporated into a daily routine at will
The disadvantages of Gardening and DIY as an alternative to an exercise regime are:
- DIY can lead to serious injury if care, attention and safety instructions are not followed
- Gardening tends to be fair weather
- DIY and Gardening is often project related so has an end point