Plant a garden & watch your health grow

It’s like a perfect storm of health and fitness. Planting a ga rden, helping it grow and enjoying its bounty, provides a great source of exercise, mental peace and fresh produce.

Research by the American Horticulture Therapy Association shows that gardening increases overall levels of physical activity and fitness, helps burn more calories and contributes to weight management and reduced risk of obesity. Use these tips to help start a fresh garden this spring:

  • Depending on your soil, you may want to create a raised bed, using enriched soil and compost.
  • If you have the room, a 16’x10’ plot is perfect for a family of four. You can create 11 rows, each 10 feet long, running north and south to provide the most sun exposure.
  • Sprinkle a few marigolds through your garden to discourage rabbits.
  • Plant seeds indoors six to eight weeks before the last frost in your area to create some healthy seedlings.

There are several resources available to show when to start planting in your region of the country, like your local cooperative extension service, nurseries or various gardening association websites.

 Sweet season

Easter’s on its way and with it, America’s second largest candy- consuming holiday tradition. More than 700 million marshmallow treats, 16 million jelly beans (enough to circle the Earth — twice), 90 million chocolate bunnies (of which 76 percent will be eaten ears- first) and nearly 92 billion eggs will be consumed. With Halloween and Easter being six months apart, it’s the perfect time to schedule your yearly dental check-ups.

 Spring clean for fitness

Put a little more physical effort in your cleaning and watch the extra calories fly away like so many dust bunnies. Here are a few ways to insert some fitness into your cleaning routine:

  • Do lunges while vacuuming.
  • Scrub floors on your hands and knees.
  • Take rugs outside and beat them with a broom instead of vacuuming them.
  • When putting away dishes, face forward and twist to reach the cabinets. 

Saving light

March 13 marks the start of Daylight Saving Time (DST). It’s estimated that DST saves approximately 1 percent of electricity per day. Roughly 70 countries participate in DST; some refer to it as “summer time.” The idea was first conceived by Benjamin Franklin back in 1784. While many credit farmers for getting DST passed as a law, the actual lobbying for its approval was spearheaded by restaurants, tourism companies and the golf industry.