• It’s time to dust off the patio furniture, power wash the deck and plant some flowers. It’s an exciting time of the year as we move outdoors and enjoy nature, but it’s also good for us.  Being outside and working in the garden builds muscles and burns calories.  So much so that on June 6 every year state garden clubs and thousands of gardeners celebrate National Gardening Exercise Day.

    Many people don’t realize the amount of good exercise you get while working outside in the garden, even preparing planters for decks and entrances.  It involves a lot of walking and bending up and down along with all that weeding, digging, spading, planting, pruning, mowing, and raking. Being outside in the fresh air and sunshine are also an added benefit.

    We like to start off our move outside with a basic cleanup. Remove dead branches and prune up shrubs and trees.  Then, we power wash walkways and driveways.  We also wash the lawn furniture and the barbecue.  (Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.)

    Our favorite part is planting the pots and containers on the deck, patio and entrances to our homes.  Even if you aren’t a skilled gardener, your local garden store can help you pick out the best flowers and plants for your containers.  They’ll also instruct you about caring for the plants. Try to pick flowers that bloom all summer.  And, don’t forget to check the outside lighting batteries. (See our previous blogs for specific decorating ideas for your outside space and for outside entertainment.)

    Families can enjoy gardening together. Parents can combine exercise, spring cleaning, yard chores, and crafts to create a family-friendly National Gardening Exercise Day celebration.

    If you want more information about doing gardening aerobically, go to Jeffrey Restuccio, a nationally recognized author and speaker on the subject of gardening and exercise.  He offers pointers on his Aerobic Model, to get the most benefit from gardening exercise at http://ritecode.com/aerobicgardening/exerday.html.

    Make it the best and healthiest summer ever!