The partnership is focused on investigating the health benefits of gardening, including how specific, everyday tasks can help to improve a gardener’s quality of life. Excessive loads while gardening can lead to undue stress on muscles and joints, which can lead to injury. When done properly though, their research suggests those same stresses can replace, or at least compliment a trip to the gym.
“Our technology gets under the skin, quite literally, of anyone who wears Xsens’ motion capture suit (MVN BIOMECH), to show precisely how their muscles and joints are working during different gardening activities,” said Dr. Barbara May, Research Fellow (biomechanics) at Coventry University’s Centre for Mobility and Transport. “When the research is completed it will be possible to say how much and what type of gardening is necessary to maintain your health and what is the most efficient way to improve your strength, balance and mobility, whilst you grow your tomatoes. Win-Win!”
Utilizing the Xsens motion capture suit and the BoB software, gardeners can now record their every movement, including the amount of stress they put on individual muscles and joints. That data is tracked, stored and then provided in a customized report. The goal of the investigation is to determine the benefits of gardening, including improvements in bone mineral density, muscle strength, joint mobility and coordination. That, in turn, can increase stamina, reduce the risk of injuries and improve the quality of life.