As the weather warms up, birds begin to chirp in the trees, and the flowers begin to bloom, it is all more motivation to get outside and get some physical activity.  Gardening is not only an under-recognized physical activity, but is also a great way to add homegrown herbs, fruits, and veggies to your diet.  Here are some ways gardening can get you closer to better health:

1.) Gardening is a great physical activity:  Gardening is considered a light to moderate aerobic activity and burns about 272 to 408 calories calories per hour, depending on the intensity of your activity (tools used, strength used in activity, etc.).  In addition, if you mow the lawn with your gardening duties, you can add some more aerobic activity to your outdoor regimen and burn about 374 calories per hour.

2.) Gardening can provide homegrown fresh produce: Whether it be an herb garden, vegetable garden, fruit trees and plants, or a little of each, a garden can provide homegrown fresh foods to add to your meals.  In addition, using foods and herbs that you grew on your own will give you a greater appreciation for those fresh, whole foods and will in turn provide greater motivation for you to prepare fresh home-cooked meals with the foods grown straight from your own yard or planter.

3.) Gardening provides a way to relax and de-stress: Getting outside and getting fresh air can on its own provide a way for you to reinvigorate your senses and relax from the stresses of the day.  Even more so, gardening provides you a way to get your hands dirty and get closer to nature, which can give you an escape from the daily grind and relax your mind so your body can focus on being and staying healthy instead of feeling stressed.  Relaxation "me time" at least 15 minutes a day can help you to reboot from a long week of work and/or running errands and keep blood pressure low so you can keep your heart, and mind, healthy. 

Sources: Mayo Clinic, Caloriesperhour