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Gardening is fun, one is happy when everything grows abundantly - but it is also associated with physical effort. When digging, plants or earthen the spade is used. When buying, you should pay attention to the best quality, so gardening is easier by the hand and at the same time keeps you fit and healthy. Most models have a handle made of ash wood, because it is very tough and not too heavy. Alternatively, there are spades made of metal or fiber-reinforced plastic. Most widely used is the T-handle (see spade left). He performs well and is slightly lighter than the D-grip. From the spade leaf, there are many typical regional forms, the most sold is the so-called gardener's sponsor with a sheet of tempered or stainless steel.
The "fitness spade" took into account the results of the study. The T-grip ensures a very good grip, the non-slip soft-touch surface and a special footbridge allow optimum power transmission (weight 2.3 kg, about 50 euros, from ideal spades)
With the right spade, digging up becomes a fitness cure for the body. A recent study by the German Sport University Cologne has used the example of spade and shovel to investigate how the stress caused by gardening affects the human body. For this purpose, under the direction of Prof. Dr. med. Ingo Froböse in the fall of last year examined 15 test persons working with a spade (model Hickory) as well as the Holsteiner sand scoop (1x conventional, 1x ergonomically shaped handle).
Pay attention to the length of the stem: The vertically placed tool will ideally reach just a hand's breadth above the belly button
Digging in four phases
During the test, each participant had to shovel a defined amount of sand into a vial, examining the effects of moderate and intense activity on oxygen uptake, heart rate, and body energy expenditure. The sequence of movements was differentiated in puncture, lifting, emptying and return phases. The most interesting findings of the study (see also interview): Working with a shovel or spade strengthens the cardiovascular system, trains the muscles and increases endurance. The stress on the muscle groups depends on the work intensity and the respective soil conditions. Working intensively with a spade or shovel in a heavy, loamy soil increases muscle strain and energy consumption.
A healthy alternative to the gym
Prof. Dr. Ingo Froböse, University Professor at the German Sport University in Cologne
What effects could be demonstrated by the study?
"Working with a shovel and spade has several measurable positive effects, such as strengthening the cardiovascular system and training the musculature. We have found an effective increase in muscle endurance. Thigh, back and upper arm muscles are specially trained. The participants felt more energetic about their perceived physical condition. "
Can gardening even replace the gym?
"Gardening with spade and shovel is at least a healthy alternative to monotonous exercises on static equipment in the gym. With regular work in the garden a similar effect as with the strength endurance training is to be expected: Force level, endurance and efficiency are noticeably increased. The energy consumption of one hour gardening with a spade equals approximately one hour of hiking, moderate running, cycling or swimming. "
Are there any other positive effects of gardening?
"Gardening in the fresh air strengthens the immune system and enhances general well-being. The sun's rays promote the production of vitamin D in the skin. This has a positive effect on bones and muscle functions as well as on the immune system. Apart from that, working with a shovel and a spade not only increases one's own fitness, but also leads to greater satisfaction through the visible work success. "