Meet Mark Cullen

Canada's best known gardening personality, Mark Cullen believes that Canadians of all ages need to play more - preferably in the dirt. A best-selling author with over 400,000 books in print, Mark reaches over one million Canadians every week through various media outlets. He is Home Hardware's horticultural spokesperson and regularly contributes to various magazines, gardening shows and newsletters. With a familiar style that people can relate to, he delivers a message that is compelling, fun, informative and inspirational - all based on his organic approach to gardening. In his spare time Mark enjoys driving his Ford Model A - and of course he loves to garden.

Gardening and Your Health

~ April 25, 2012

Incorporating regular physical exercise into a routine helps boost energy, cope with stress, counter depression and improve sleep. Gardening for just 30 to 40 minutes will significantly contribute to overall health.

Gardening's weight bearing tasks (ie. digging holes, pulling weeds, pushing a mower) have been linked to osteoporosis prevention. Women aged 50 and older who gardened at least once a week showed higher bone density readings than those who performed other types of exercise, including jogging, swimming, walking and aerobics. And, exposure to sunlight boosts vitamin D production, aiding the body's calcium absorption.

Recommendations: Use the right equipment. Whenever possible, look for equipment that is designed to be ergonomically correct. Keep in mind, a garden hose is easier to manage than a watering can, and a sturdy cart or wheelbarrow makes transferring easier. Pace yourself. Taking a few brief breaks each hour is recommended. Change your body position every 10 to 15 minutes, changing the focus from legs to arms, to hands to back. Relax and spread the work over a few days. Take it slow. Using different muscles than you're accustomed to can make even the most in-shape person slightly sore. So, take it slow, and alternate between heavy chores (ie. digging) and less physically demanding tasks (ie. planting).

[Source: Obus Forme report]