Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Gardening is the best exercise: official

It's official!

For all of us right-minded people who hate the thought of "going to the gym", who equate that activity with skinny people showing off in lycra, and who cringe at the thought of full-length mirrors, there is excellent news from none other than Dr Michael Mosley, the chap behind (and in front of) the tv series Trust me, I'm a Doctor.

He's been doing a series of investigations into the truth about what is good for us - recently he did a fascinating programme on what happens to the carbohydrates in pasta when it is reheated after a night in the fridge, and found that the starch undergoes a chemical change in the cooling process, which means that instead of being instantly-accessible carbohydrate, which makes us fat, it turns into less easily accessible starch (he had all the complicated scientific names, I'm simplifying) which the body treats more like fibre: ie it does not have the instant fattening effect, it breaks down slowly inside us, which is good news for all those people who want low GI index foods, foods which don't give them the "sugar rush" and which keep their blood sugar levels more stable, reducing insulin production.

The upshot of the programme was that reheating yesterday's pasta makes it "better" for us, thus confirming that granny knew best all those years ago, when she taught us to use up our leftovers.

Today, it was all about exercise: he was analysing normal activities to see which ones could be considered comparable to going to the gym, without having to go to the gym.

The conclusion of the article - read it here on the BBC website - is, and I quote:

"And if you were wondering, one of the best all-round activities seems to be gardening."

Yay! It's official! Gardening is as good for you as going to the gym!! In fact it's better, as Dr Mosley's research confirms that a session of exercise/gardening every day is better than one concentrated burst of activity once a week, so that's one in the eye for the "oh, look at me, I've just done two hours of circuit training down the gym" brigade.

(No, I have no idea what circuit training is. I thought it was running, but apparently it's something like going round the various torture exercise machines in the gym. Please don't write in and explain it to me, I really don't care.)

So there you have it, get out there and garden: mowing the grass, planting flowers, digging, weeding, stretching, bending, breathing the lovely fresh air, listening to the birdies chirping: it's the best non-exercise exercise you can get!

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