Department of Environmental Health Science, Konkuk University1
Department of Industrial Engineering, Hongik Universit2
This study investigated the exercise intensity and energy expenditure involved in two gardening activities (planting transplants and sowing seeds in a garden plot) and four common physical activities (running, skipping rope, walking, and throwing a ball) in children. Eighteen children aged 11 to 13 years (mean age, 12.3 ± 0.7 years) participated in this study. The children made two visits to a high tunnel in Cheongju, Chungbuk, South Korea and performed randomly selected activities. Each activity was performed for 10 min, with a 5-min rest period between activities. The children wore a Cosmed K4b2 (Cosmed K4b2; Cosmed, Rome, Italy), which is a portable calorimetric monitoring system, to measure indicators of metabolic cost such as oxygen uptake and energy expenditure. The children’s heart rates during the activities were measured by radiotelemetry (Polar T 31; FitMed, Kempele, Finland). We found that the two gardening and four physical activities performed by the 11-13 years old children in this study were moderate- to high-intensity physical activities [i.e., 5.4 ± 0.7 to 9.1 ± 1.4 metabolic equivalents (METs)]. Running (9.1 ± 1.4 METs) and skipping rope (8.8 ± 1.1 METs) were high-intensity physical activities, whereas walking (6.1 ± 0.9 METs), planting transplants (5.8 ± 1.1 METs), throwing a ball (5.6 ± 1.1 METs), and sowing seeds (5.4 ± 0.7 METs) were moderate-intensity physical activities. Running and skipping rope were significantly more intense than the other activities (P < 0.0001). The gardening tasks such as planting transplants and sowing seeds in a garden plot showed similar exercise intensities and energy costs as walking and throwing a ball. This study indicates that gardening can be used as a physical activity intervention to provide health benefits similar to more common physical activities such as walking and running.
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