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Previous research has suggested that gardening activity could be an effective form of regular exercise for improving physical and psychological health in later life. However, there is a lack of data regarding the exercise intensities of various gardening tasks across different types of gardening and different populations. The purpose of this study was to examine the exercise intensity of gardening activity for older adult allotment gardeners in Wales, United Kingdom following a similar procedure used in previous studies conducted in the United States and South Korea by Park and colleagues (2008a; 2011). Oxygen consumption (VO2) and energy expenditure for six gardening tasks were measured via indirect calorimetery using the portable Oxycon mobile device. From these measures, estimated metabolic equivalent units (METs) were calculated. Consistent with Park et al. (2008a; 2011) the six gardening tasks were classified as low to moderate-high intensity physical activities based on their metabolic values (1.9–5.7 METs).
Hawkins is with DECIPHer UKCRC Public Health Research Centre of Excellence, School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK. Smith and Clayton are with Cardiff School of Health Sciences, Cardiff Metropolitan University, Cardiff, UK. Backx is with Cardiff School of Sport, Cardiff Metropolitan University, Cardiff, UK. Address author correspondence to Jemma L. Hawkins at HawkinsJ10@cardiff.ac.uk.