Drop and give me 20…freshly dug holes filled with soil.

That’s not something you typically hear as instruction for exercise, but the truth is that gardening is one activity that’s quite good for the body, the mind and the spirit.  Those of you who garden know that it can be quite a work out. Bags of mulch and soil can weigh 20  to 40 pounds or even more. So whether you carry them or push them in a wheelbarrow, you are moving and working muscles. And that’s just one part of gardening. There are so many other movements that require standing, bending, kneeling, twisting and reaching.

If you work and have children, you may not have time for the workout you would like but don’t give up on the idea of getting exercise to stay fit. According to an article on WebMD.com you can burn 200 to 400 calories weeding for an hour. Think of your home and garden as your own fitness center. You can burn calories doing a variety of everyday activities and gardening is one of many.

The great thing about an activity like gardening is that it produces so many rich results. Your sweat equity is part of your labor of love, leading to a beautiful garden that tends to be a great source of pride for you, your family and visitors to enjoy.  And … the process can be a genuine workout that is helping you to burn calories while also lowering your stress, helping your heart health and adding to your longevity. It can even improve mental health for those struggling with depression, according to research published on CNN.com,  “In a study conducted in Norway, people who had been diagnosed with depression, persistent low mood, or “bipolar II disorder” spent six hours a week growing flowers and vegetables.

After three months, half of the participants had experienced a measurable improvement in their depression symptoms. What’s more, their mood continued to be better three months after the gardening program ended.”

Consider what you’re planting when you garden. It could be the seeds for lifelong wellness.