Create Your Own “Ortogym” and Get Fit!

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A recent article reported in, announced that Italian school children in the campania region–where US scientist Ancel Keys reported on the benefits of the Mediterranean Diet, as a way to prevent several life-theatening diseases—are part of a program to prevent obesity, which is becomeing a global concern. The children tend a vegetable garden for one hour per day.

I am a long time advocate of the old fashioned Italian garden as a means to achieve serenity and good health. Ecopsychologists know that working with the earth gives us a greater sense of serenity and connectedness. We get a sense of achievement in growing some of our own food, and give our bodies the gift of good nourishment by eating fresh, clean, pesticide-free produce. we save money , too.

But there is another benefit to gardening–staying in shape– and as  usual Italians are leading the way in putting emphasis on preserving the health of their  children using gardening as part of their fitness regimen. Bravi ragazzi!

If you want to make  the joy of gardening become the heart of your fitness regimen too, now is the season–don’t let it slip away as you sit on the couch.  One hour of gardening can burn 300-400 calories. That is not just growing produce, but you can also include mowing the lawn(I prefer an old fashioned non-gas driven mower), trimming hedges, pruning trees, etc. To make sure you don’t overdo it, you can get out and tend garden for 30 minutes at a time,  two or three times a day. What a way to get a return for your efforts!  If you are in an apartment or condo, you can more than likely  garden some of the common grounds , volunteer your services for your local community garden, or even create a pot garden on your balcony that you tend to regularly.


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