Urban gardening is all the rage right now in Portland, and not only is it a fun summer hobby, but it can also be very helpful with losing weight. Gardening has a reputation for being a pretty dainty activity, but it’s actually a lot of work! Several generations ago, most people worked on farms, rather than in offices. Their work was highly physical, meaning that they didn’t have to make time in their day to exercise. The shift from predominantly agricultural work, to mainly desk work, is one of the major contributors to the obesity epidemic in the United States
Starting up a garden is excellent strength training and cardio. You’re working several different muscle groups when you’re digging into the ground, or pulling out leaves. Remember to wait until the last frost before planting most vegetables. The Pacific Northwest has a very mild climate, so it’s possible to start gardening here sooner than in other regions of the country. Be sure to plant your rows far enough apart that your plants don’t strangle each other, and it’s worth doing some research on which plant combinations enrich the soil. The real back breaking work is at the beginning, but watering every day will also help you sneak a little bit of cardio in an otherwise sedentary routine.
Gardening provides exercise, but the real point of gardening is the cornucopia of fresh fruits and vegetables in your yard! Have a lot of produce on hand solves the problem of not having the time to go grocery shopping. On the contrary, sometimes you’re forced to eat your veggies because of an over abundance of fresh produce. Not a bad thing at all. Last summer I grew 46 zucchinis, and it forced me to get really creative with zucchini recipes. If you have more fruits and vegetables than you can handle over the summer, freezing and canning for winter is always a smart option. Whatever you do, get out there and get your hands dirty!