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Gardening Might Give Kids a Fitness Boost

Digging, raking were high-intensity tasks in South Korean study

FRIDAY, March 14, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Looking for new ways to motivate your kids to be active? Gardening can provide a good workout for children, according to a new study.

Researchers assessed 17 South Korean children, about age 12, as they did a number of gardening chores such as digging, raking, hoeing, weeding, mixing growing medium, planting seeds and young plants, watering and mulching.

The children visited two gardens twice, and did five different tasks during each visit.

The youngsters had five minutes to complete each task and were allowed a five-minute rest between each one. Researchers Sin-Ae Park and colleagues monitored the children's heart rate, energy output and oxygen uptake.

The gardening activities provided the children with moderate to high physical activity. Digging and raking were high intensity, while the other activities were moderate intensity, according to the study published recently in the journal HortTechnology.

The findings could be used to develop garden-based exercise programs for children, the researchers said in a journal news release.

More information

The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more about children and exercise.

SOURCE: HortTechnology, news release
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