Gotta keep in shape for gardening, even over the winter months. (Mary Lowther photo)

Gotta keep in shape for gardening, even over the winter months. (Mary Lowther photo)

Mary Lowther column: Are you fit for gardening?

One wants to stay in shape to be able to garden when she gets old

By Mary Lowther

I used to believe that during most of the year my garden provided me with enough lifts, squats and curls to keep up my girlish figure, but now that gardening season is over and I’m back to the winter workout routine, my body is telling me that gardening isn’t enough. Fortunately, November brings a time of idleness that allows time for my morning workout. So much for the hour we gain with the return to standard time!

Every year I am surprised by how much strength I lose over the summer by gardening instead of working out. One would expect the hours of digging and lifting would be a more than adequate substitute, but obviously it isn’t.

I place the problem squarely on the time change. While the extra hour in winter provides time for a morning calisthenics, what sane agriculturalist wants to get up an hour earlier in the spring after the clocks spring forward and we all know we should be getting another hour of sleep? One can easily be forgiven for rationalizing that gardening exercise should be enough, but one would be wrong.

If recent research is to be believed, we should exercise not only to keep fit, but to favour friendly gut bacteria. In his book, Brain Maker, David Perlmutter writes: “New science reveals that exercise positively influences the gut’s balance of bacteria to favour colonies that prevent weight gain.” He adds that good gut bacteria produce important chemicals that reach the brain to create new neurons and protect existing ones, and that these chemicals “can be increased through aerobic exercise as well as by consuming omega three DHA fats.” DHA fats are found in fish and seafood.

According to the Max Delbrueck Centre for Molecular Medicine in Berlin, Germany, “probiotics and exercise can balance brain plasticity (the ability of the brain to change).” Studies published in The Journal of Applied Physiology have shown that intervals of intense exercise increase the number and size of mitochondria, the energy creating cells in the body, in the brain and muscles. This means exercising until you’re short of breath and your muscles burn. Dr. Sreekumaran Nair, a researcher at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, writes that “younger volunteers showed a 49% increase in mitochondrial capacity and the older group saw a 69% increase.” He doesn’t give the ages, but I suspect I fit into the latter group.

Clearly I don’t get enough of this kind of exercise in the garden, so I’m going to have to compensate and keep up the aerobics, whether or not we lose an hour of sleep in the spring. After all, one wants to stay in shape to be able to garden when she gets old and still be smart enough to know the difference between carrots and Queen Anne’s Lace.

Please contact mary_lowther@yahoo.ca with questions and suggestions since I need all the help I can get.

Just Posted

Vetch cover crop beginning to flower. (Mary Lowther photo)
Mary Lowther column: Vetch and crimson clover to the rescue of soil fertility

I add dry organic fertilizer as plants use up what is in the soil.

Sarah Simpson
Sarah Simpson column: A shift in perspective can sometimes change everything

Have you even been forced to wake up at 5:30 on a Saturday

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

North Cowichan’s committee of the whole have rejected staff’s recommendation to limit the use of fireworks to Halloween. (File photo)
North Cowichan rejects limiting fireworks to Halloween

Municipality decides staff recommendation would be unpopular

Things are looking up for Vancouver Island as zero COVID-19 cases have been reported for the first time since October. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Island records zero new COVID-19 cases for the first time since October

For the first time since October, the province is reporting zero new… Continue reading

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Bruce Springsteen performs at the 13th annual Stand Up For Heroes benefit concert in support of the Bob Woodruff Foundation in New York on Nov. 4, 2019. (Greg Allen/Invision/AP)
Canadians who got AstraZeneca shot can now see ‘Springsteen on Broadway’

B.C. mayor David Screech who received his second AstraZeneca dose last week can now attend the show

New research suggests wolves can be steered away from the endangered caribou herds they prey on by making the man-made trails they use to hunt harder to move along. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Culling cutlines, not B.C. wolves, key to preserving caribou herds: researcher

The government has turned to killing hundreds of wolves in an effort to keep caribou around

Gary Abbott (left) and Louis De Jaeger were two of the organizers for the 2014 Spirit of the People Powwow in Chilliwack. Monday, June 21, 2021 is Indigenous Peoples Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of June 20 to 26

Indigenous Peoples Day, Take Your Dog to Work Day, Onion Rings Day all coming up this week

Most Read