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Gardening provides high-to-moderate physical activity for children

Date:
January 31, 2014
Source:
American Society for Horticultural Science
Summary:
The metabolic cost of 10 gardening tasks was measured in children to determine associated exercise intensities. The children performed the tasks while wearing a portable telemetric calorimeter and a heart rate monitor to measure oxygen uptake and heart rate. Results showed digging and raking to be high-intensity, while the other activities were determined to be moderate-intensity. The data can facilitate the development of garden-based exercise programs for children that promote health and physically active lifestyles.

Gardening, often considered to be an activity reserved for adults, is gaining ground with children as new programs are introduced that promote gardening's "green" attributes. Physical benefits of getting out in the garden have also been reported for adults and seniors--now, a study from researchers in South Korea finds that children, too, can reap the benefits of digging, raking, and weeding.

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Researchers Sin-Ae Park, Ho-Sang Lee, Kwan-Suk Lee, Ki-Cheol Son, and Candice Shoemaker published the results of their study in HortTechnology. They say that the data can inform future development of garden-based programs that help engage children in physical activity and promote healthy lifestyles.

The research team studied 17 children as they engaged in 10 gardening tasks: digging, raking, weeding, mulching, hoeing, sowing seeds, harvesting, watering, mixing growing medium, and planting transplants. The study was conducted in South Korea in two garden environments--a high tunnel, and an outdoor area. The children visited the gardens twice, and each child performed five different tasks during each visit. They were given 5 minutes to complete each gardening task, and were allowed a 5-minute rest between each task. During the study, the children wore portable telemetric calorimeters and heart rate monitors so that researchers could measure their oxygen uptake, energy expenditure, and heart rate.

Results showed that the 10 gardening tasks represented moderate- to high-intensity physical activity for the children. Digging and raking were categorized as "high-intensity" physical activities; digging was more intense than the other gardening tasks studied. Tasks such as weeding, mulching, hoeing, sowing seeds, harvesting, watering, mixing growing medium, and planting transplants were determined to be "moderate-intensity" physical activities.

The researchers said that the study results will facilitate the development of garden-based exercise interventions for children, which can promote health and physically active lifestyle. They added that the data can also be useful information when designing garden-based therapeutic interventions for children with low levels of physical ability.

The complete study and abstract are available on the ASHS HortTechnology electronic journal web site: http://horttech.ashspublications.org/content/23/5/589.abstract


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Society for Horticultural Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Sin-Ae Park, Ho-Sang Lee, Kwan-Suk Lee, Ki-Cheol Son, And Candice A. Shoemaker. The Metabolic Costs of Gardening Tasks in Children. HortTechnology, October 2013

Cite This Page:

American Society for Horticultural Science. "Gardening provides high-to-moderate physical activity for children." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 January 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140131130850.htm>.
American Society for Horticultural Science. (2014, January 31). Gardening provides high-to-moderate physical activity for children. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 21, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140131130850.htm
American Society for Horticultural Science. "Gardening provides high-to-moderate physical activity for children." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140131130850.htm (accessed April 21, 2015).

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