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Younger adults benefit from gardening's moderate- to high-intensity activities

Date:
May 5, 2014
Source:
American Society for Horticultural Science
Summary:
The exercise intensities of 10 gardening tasks for men and women in their 20s was recently studied by researchers. Subjects wore portable telemetric calorimeters during the gardening tasks and resting periods to measure their oxygen uptake, and wore heart rate monitors to record heart rate data during the gardening tasks and resting periods via radiotelemetry. All 10 tasks were determined to be moderate- to high-intensity physical activities for the age group.

People throughout the world enjoy gardening. The popular pastime can not only enhance home and community landscapes and provide low-cost food sources, the level of physical activity required also offers a multitude of health benefits. Studies have confirmed that engaging in gardening can lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and increase psychological well-being. The authors of a new study say that, although many studies have focused on the health benefits of gardening for older adults, research on different age groups is limited. A new study suggests that gardening can provide similar benefits for younger adults.

Researchers from Konkuk University and Hongik University in Seoul, South Korea, published a study in HortTechnology that evaluated the intensity of gardening activities for adults in their 20s. "The exercise intensity of physical activity may differ between age groups and fitness levels, and there was not enough data on the metabolic equivalents of gardening tasks in different age groups to develop a garden exercise program for maintaining or improving health conditions," explained the study's lead author Ki-Cheol Son.

Fifteen university students in their 20s participated in the study in South Korea. Each subject performed 10 common gardening tasks in a high tunnel and in a nearby grassy area with a vegetable garden and weeds. The subjects visited the garden plot twice and performed five gardening tasks during each visit; each task lasted for 5 minutes and was followed by a 5-minute rest. Subject wore a portable telemetric calorimeter and respired into the facemask during the gardening tasks and resting periods so researchers could measure their oxygen uptake. The subjects also wore a heart rate monitor to record heart rate data during the gardening tasks and resting periods via radiotelemetry.

The research team evaluated the data and determined that all 10 gardening tasks were "moderate- to high-intensity" physical activities for the research subjects. Planting transplants, mixing growing medium, watering, harvesting, sowing, hoeing, mulching, raking, and weeding were all classified as "moderate intensity," while digging was a found to be a "high-intensity" activity and was the most intense task in study.

"Determining the exercise intensity of gardening tasks should be useful information for developing garden exercise programs based on physical activity recommendations for health benefits," the researchers said, adding that the data will also be valuable for designing horticultural therapy program based on the physical capacity of a client and for clients with special needs.


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, A-Young Lee, Kwan-Suk Lee And Ki-Cheol Son. Gardening Tasks Performed by Adults are Moderate- to High-Intensity Physical Activities. HortTechnology, February 2014

Cite This Page:

American Society for Horticultural Science. "Younger adults benefit from gardening's moderate- to high-intensity activities." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 May 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140505104425.htm>.
American Society for Horticultural Science. (2014, May 5). Younger adults benefit from gardening's moderate- to high-intensity activities. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140505104425.htm
American Society for Horticultural Science. "Younger adults benefit from gardening's moderate- to high-intensity activities." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140505104425.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

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