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Staying fit can be quite a chore. Making the time & mustering energy to attend a gym or even to use home exercise equipment can be challenging, and what do we have to show for the time we spend (besides the knowledge that we're staying healthy)? That's why you may find that, rather than exercising for the sake of exercise, you prefer to work in your yard. It's a fun and fulfilling way to keep active and keep your house and yard looking its best.

Many seniors will hire neighborhood youngsters to perform their yard work for them. Others prefer to get outside and do it their self. Doing your own yard work not only allows you to get a light, enjoyable workout, but you can also make sure the yard looks exactly the way you would like it to look. In addition, you derive a great deal of personal pride and satisfaction from doing the work yourself.

Nothing compares with the simple pleasure of working out of doors. Whether surrounded by the warmth of the summer sun, the changing leaves of fall, the crisp air of winter or the blossoming flowers of spring, working outdoors connects us with nature and supplies us with a deep and abiding feeling of well-being.

No matter what the season, there's work to be done in the yard. With the coming of spring, it's time for a trip to the lawn and garden section of the local store. There you can pick up grass seed, fertilizer, soil and mulch and seeds for your garden. If your arthritis is acting up, you may enlist the aid of a neighbor or member of your church for help in moving the heavier bags.

It's a joy to listen to the birds return while you walk slowly behind your fertilizer spreader while clearing the ground and turning over the soil in your garden beds (You can also add compost collected the year before). Later, when the threat of a late-season frost has ended, it's time to plant the seeds. Purchase a gardening stool to sit on as you work in a particular place. This helps keep the ache out of your knees and back.

During the long summer months, you can mow your lawn (Try a self-prepared mower to avoid too much strain), and water and weed your garden. Besides getting out of the house, and providing you with much needed exercise, it's rewarding to watch your lovely flowers and vegetables grow out of the earth and to their full size.

Fall is a time of harvesting vegetables, raking leaves, and cleaning up the yard in anticipation of winter. You will find it also helps to apply a high potassium fertilizer just before the winter sets in. You can also reseed thin or bare areas.

During the winter months, keep the sidewalk clear of snow with frequent sweeping. Accept help from the neighbors when the snow gets too deep or the sidewalk is icy it's consistantly important to avoid overexertion. Friends in the south have the pleasure of maintaining flower gardens year round, planting cool weather seeds for the winter months. Such are the joys of living in southern states!

In order to keep the workload light, try and make a point of getting outdoors each day. Your daily walk approximately the yard will always turns up some task that needs doing, from picking up fallen sticks and branches, to pulling out weeds. This daily inspection means that you get out every day, and don't enable the work to pile up!

For those of us who need a helping hand in the yard, the United Way supports a number of local volunteer agencies that will send a strong back to your aid. In this way, we seniors need not shy away from yard work in general for fear of the one or two tasks we may not be able to accomplish on our own. Ask about these programs at your neighborhood senior center, or call the United Way.

By diligently performing daily maintenance, yard work presents a great exercise for seniors. Not only does it provide an opportunity to keep muscles and joints flexible, but it also gives the exercise a sense of purpose. An attractive lawn, lovely flowerbeds and delicious vegetables are the rewards for this type of exercise. I highly recommend yard work as exercise for my senior friends.