Let your kids do gardening for a healthy future

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Seoul: Gardening connects you to the nature and children too can reap the benefits of digging, raking and weeding, shows research.

The team studied 17 children as they engaged in 10 gardening tasks: digging, raking, weeding, mulching, hoeing, sowing seeds, harvesting, watering, mixing growing medium and planting transplants.

Results showed that the 10 gardening tasks represented moderate- to high-intensity physical activity for the children.

The study was conducted in South Korea in two garden environments - a high tunnel, and an outdoor area.

The children visited the gardens twice, and each child performed five different tasks during each visit.

They were given five minutes to complete each gardening task, and were allowed a five-minute rest between each task.

During the study, the children wore portable telemetric calorimeters and heart rate monitors so that researchers could measure their oxygen uptake, energy expenditure and heart rate.

Digging and raking were categorised as "high-intensity" physical activities, while tasks such as weeding, mulching, hoeing, sowing seeds, harvesting, watering and planting transplants were determined to be of "moderate-intensity".

The researchers say that the data can inform future development of garden-based programmes that help engage children in physical activity and promote healthy lifestyles.

The study, conducted by researchers at American Society for Horticultural Science, appeared in the journal HortTechnology.