Gardening provides high-to-moderate physical activity for children

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. 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 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 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 with low levels of physical ability.

More information: The complete study and abstract are available on the ASHS HortTechnology website: horttech.ashspublications.org/… nt/23/5/589.abstract

Related Stories

Children's gardens mushrooming

date May 19, 2008

Researchers have discovered the secrets to enhancing youth participation in school- and community-based garden programs. A 3-year study entitled “Greener Voices” proves that children will engage in learning ...

Another reason to get your hands dirty

date Dec 29, 2008

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American College of Sports Medicine recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most days of the week in order to maintain and improve optimal ...

Recommended for you

Breastfeeding protects against environmental pollution

date May 22, 2015

Living in a city with a high level of vehicle traffic or close to a steel works means living with two intense sources of environmental pollution. However, a study conducted by the UPV/EHU researcher Aitana ...

When it comes to hearing, diet may trump noise exposure

date May 22, 2015

Although the old wives' tale about carrots being good for your eyesight has been debunked, University of Florida researchers have found a link between healthy eating and another of your five senses: hearing.

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.