How hobbies can help us stay active with COPD

Gardening improves a columnist's mental and physical health

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by Caroline Gainer |

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One topic in the most recent edition of the COPD Foundation’s Faces of COPD newsletter is staying healthy while pursuing hobbies. This subject struck me smack in the face because I’d gotten on the computer to find a squash casserole recipe.

I had a beautiful summer squash in the refrigerator, there because I’d grown tired of the battered and fried squash that I’d fixed for several days. This squash was one of five that I’d picked from the garden. I gave two to my neighbor and kept three for myself.

As I worked on preparing the casserole, I thought about the newsletter topic of staying healthy while pursuing our hobbies and how the statement could be reversed. Maybe our hobbies kept us active, and thus kept us healthy. Let’s look at my summer squash as an example.

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A remedy for the winter blues

Last winter, when things were bleak and cold, I brightened one day by going online and ordering seeds for the spring planting. I anxiously awaited their arrival. The day they arrived, I had wonderful thoughts of planting them in the spring.

Once warmer weather arrived, I went about turning over the soil in my raised beds and refreshing it with Miracle-Gro potting soil. The beds settle in the winter, as ground-up leaves placed there in the fall have decayed and become part of the soil.

The beds keep me active as planting season arrives. I must till the soil once again and make hills to plant my squash seeds. I must make sure that the seeds get enough moisture to germinate, as the raised beds are against the side of my house, where they don’t get much rain.

This placement under the eaves prompts the activity of pulling the gardening hose to the beds, walking back and turning on the water, spraying the soil, returning to shut off the water, and then walking back and rolling up the hose.

Each time I visit the garden beds, I must go outside and walk around the house to get to them, so I’m getting in quite a few steps while tending to my little garden in the sun. Exercise has been shown to benefit a person with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Being out in the fresh air and sunshine is also beneficial, as the sun causes the body to produce vitamin D, which has many other benefits for those of us with COPD.

Lastly, the fresh vegetables that my little raised-bed garden produces supply me with high-quality nutrients. These nutrients are housed in vegetables that taste so much better than the ones I buy at the local grocery store.

Thus, I propose that one of my hobbies — gardening — adds to my well-being by giving me something to look forward to in the bleak of the winter, providing exercise as I tend to it, and producing high-quality, nutritional food. So my hobby helps keep me active and healthy.

Do any of your hobbies also help you stay active? Please share in the comments below. 

Note: COPD News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of COPD News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.