​You don’t have to look any farther than the back yard to find a reason to be fit after 50.

Gardening is a great hobby for people at any stage of life – and there’s no reason to give it up or avoid it just because of age.    

But make no mistake, gardening can be a good physical challenge. In fact, it’s a full-body workout that burns up to 300 calories in an hour.    

Think about the tasks of gardening: Squatting to tend the earth, carrying bags of dirt, pushing a wheelbarrow, and pulling up weeds. These are very similar to the movements of a great gym workout – and working out at the gym becomes increasingly important to gardening after a certain age. 

Millions of people over 50 have enjoyed the hobby throughout their lifetimes. Here are just five reasons they should keep it up.

  1. Gardening improves strength, flexibility, balance and endurance. 
  2. It improves self-esteem and fights depression.
  3. It lowers blood pressure and physical and mental stress.
  4. It’s a great creative outlet.
  5. And it provides a powerful social outlet, as well, with neighbours, community gardens, and even grandkids

“The variety of tasks associated with gardening is one reason older adults are more likely to stick with their regimen,” says the American Society for Horticultural Science. “Gardening tasks change throughout the season and different activities are involved in daily chores.”     

Gardening can be a component of a lifestyle that’s good for mental health, too, including dementia.    

“It appears safe and reasonable to recommend … the maintenance of physical activity, especially daily gardening, in the hope of reducing the incidence of dementia in future years,” according to a study by the National Center for Biotechnology Information.

Florist Deidra Champagne enjoys tending a vegetable garden in her off-time. “It is a mind-body connection – so you’re in touch with the soil, you’re in touch with nature. It’s very therapeutic.”   

Fitness Recommendations   

Take a few cautionary steps to avoid the heat and direct sunlight. Enjoy your hobby in the early morning or early evening. Use sunscreen and a hat. Wear good shoes.    

Deidra also recommends using raised garden beds to reduce bending and crouching.   

And come see us.   

Regular physical exercise – and a focus on “functional fitness” – keeps you able to perform your favorite activities late in life, and gardening is no different than, say golf, tennis or jogging.    

Squats, pushups, planks and other common movements will work your legs, core, back and arms to keep you in shape for gardening – and everyday tasks like bringing in the groceries and playing with the grandkids   

We’re happy to show you how short, fun workouts can improve your experiences in the garden – and other tasks you don’t immediately associate with exercise.   

The fact is, gardening is a great example of why mature adults need fitness, even if it never held much interest before.    

If you want to maintain your independence and quality of life throughout this part of life, then you need regular resistance and cardio training.   

To stay strong. To keep your balance. To enjoy what you love.

Cauliflower Tater Tots

Who knew there were recipes for healthy tater tots?!  

Incredibly, these tots could be included as part of a fat loss diet. This recipe is a take on cauliflower tater tots – sans dairy. If you want to add in some cheese that would definitely work, but the recipe doesn’t require any cheese to stick together and to taste phenomenal. Enjoy!

Courtesy of RealHealthyRecipes.com

What you need
Servings: 4

  • 1 head cauliflower
  • ¼ cup almond flour
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast​
  • 2 tablespoons flax meal​
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper​
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder​
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder​
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup red bell pepper, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsely, minced

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Steam the cauliflower florets for 10 minutes, until very soft. Transfer to a colander to drain. Transfer the cauliflower to the centre of a stack of folded paper towels and squeeze to remove as much liquid as possible.
  3. Combine the almond flour, nutritional yeast, flax, salt, pepper garlic and onion powders in a mixing bowl. Separate half of the flour mixture into a shallow bowl.
  4. Add the cauliflower, egg, onion, bell pepper and parsley into the mixing bowl with half of the flour mixture. Mix well and mash the cauliflower into small pieces.
  5. Use 1 Tablespoon scoops to form the cauliflower dough into tot shapes. Dredge the tots through the remaining flour mixture. Place the tots on the prepared baking sheet in a single layer. Makes 16 tots. 
  6. Bake for 20 minutes, turning halfway through, until golden.

Nutrition
One serving equals: 136 calories, 6g fat, 276mg sodium, 12g carbohydrate, 6g fibre, 0g sugar and 11g protein.

Whenever you’re ready, here are 3 ways I can help you get healthier and happier:

1) Come in for a Custom Fitness Consultation

We’ll sit down together and discuss your health history, your goals, and simple steps you can take to achieve them and see if there is a way to work together to give you the coaching and support you need to get the results you want.

If you’d like to discuss meeting for a Consultation, just reply and put ‘Consult’ in the subject line and I’ll follow up with you.

2)  I have FREE Open Office Hours during the week where you can call in and speak to me about your goals.

The call is just 15 minutes out of your week, but the insights you’ll discover could impact you for a lifetime! To schedule your FREE consultation, reply and put ‘Call’ in the subject line. We’ll set up a time that works for both of us.

3) Be my guest for a free training session.

If you’d like to come in to attend a Beginner small group training session as my guest…just reply and put “Guest” in the subject line, and I’ll get you all the details.

 Shelley Turk