One of the most beneficial ways of spending your outdoor time should be by gardening. For a long time gardening has been solely linked to the production of fresh vegetables and fruits. But a keen look reveals that there are actually numerous ways through which gardening can improve your health.
Gardening generally benefits all your body components; be it the mind, soul or body. This is more than enough evidence that not the soil alone will be benefitting from your activities in the yard. What’s more, when you prepare those meals with what you produced yourself from your yard, it becomes more satisfying.
Those are not the only benefits that gardening has to offer us; you will be surprised at how gardening will be great at improving your health as well. Look at the 7 best ones below:
1. Reduced anxiety and stress
The sounds and sights that nature offers are so calming. A well-organized and well-maintained garden is a great way to enjoy the very nature. Studies have shown that those who practice gardening regularly have reduced levels of Cortisol, which is the hormone responsible for stress in humans.
Too much of this hormone causes other health complications such as poor memory and poor immune systems. And it has been proven that reduction in Cortisol levels doesn’t stop at the end of your gardening, but its effects can last longer even after leaving your garden.
To benefit optimally when it comes stress reduction, ensure that you do not carry along any electronics with you to the garden. This helps in keeping your mind concentrated on the gardening experience and not any other thing.
Your mind should be 100% involved in the activities you undertake while at the garden. And once you are done, sit back and enjoy whatever you have done.
2. Great way to workout
Gardening features amongst the most moderate physical activities that help in the burning of calories. With gardening, you work out without feeling the pain as you enjoy what you do in the process. Actually, research has proved that gardening is in the same category with walking, hiking and cycling in terms of burnt calories.
Your whole body moves in a way that is fun and natural compared to a gym workout for example. Once your body and mind have relaxed and focused on gardening, the lifting, pushing, pulling and stretching that is involved makes workout unnoticeable but very interesting.
You also need to remember that you will be attending to your plants on a daily basis which even makes gardening a daily way of keeping fit. Regular exercise minimizes the occurrence of health issues such as strokes and heart attacks.
3. Improved Mental Health
Gardening is a healing activity of its own. The sense of responsibility and how it keeps you connected to plants is stress-relieving. Your interaction with these living things is just a reminder that you live in the present.
The satisfaction, physical activity, and natural surroundings all combined with other features associated with gardening create some therapeutic effect which helps in improving your mental health. The production of hormones like dopamine and serotonin is very important for normal mental operation.
Gardening keeps all your sensory organs active. Seeing your plants, smelling the flower scents and touching the soil among others will keep your mind engaged which is very important for your mental health.
4. Boost the immune system
The presence of dirt underneath the fingernails has for a long time been regarded as unhygienic. But surprisingly, scientists have found out that it is actually a sign of good health. There are lots of bacteria in the soil, some being so beneficial.
The presence of these beneficial bacteria helps in boosting your immune system, therefore, making your body capable of fighting off infections with a lot of ease. The end result being reduced ailments.
Do you know that your routine presence in the garden can help in the prevention of certain allergies and asthma as well? Well, get it now that it is a great possibility. Severities of some reactions are therefore minimized in the process.
Your exposure to sunshine while gardening will also make your body get a maximum supply of vitamin D. Exposure to bacteria through gardening will make your body immune to so many infections.
5. Improved self-esteem
Are you experiencing depression to the levels that you do not feel like loving yourself? You are not alone; so many people have been in the same position. But today you are going to move a step closer towards bidding bye to depression.
And surprisingly, this will happen through gardening. Sessions in the garden have been found to reduce tension while improving self-perception. All these are great ways to improve your self-esteem. With the skills you gain from gardening, your confidence will have improved and this will translate to improved health.
Allowing kids to the garden will make them very sharp and fearless while at school. A confident kid learns so fast. Never leave your kids behind whenever you are going to the garden as self-confidence is a very integral part of their learning process.
6. Improved brain health
Research has it that aerobic physical activity like gardening helps in the improvement of brain structure, therefore, reducing the risk of getting a condition known as Alzheimer’s. Almost all the activities from measurements, planting and watering among others must call the brain to action.
Working out the brain improves its health, and hence there is the eventual protection of the cognitive health. In the process, your brain volume is increased. The sensory awareness that accompanies dexterity and strength building stimulates the memory which is very healthy for the brain.
Gardening has actually been found to reduce the risk of contracting Alzheimer’s disease by 50%. There are also other pieces of research that have highly ranked horticulture therapy as a way of treating dementia patients. All these are geared towards a healthy brain.
7. Characterized with better sleep
Have you lacked quality sleep recently? Why don’t you just get to the garden and get the difference? If there is nothing much to be done on the farm, you can even try whacking weeds. Having relieved stress and spent your time outdoors will surely give you an enjoyable night sleep.
The physical exercise on its own will have exhausted you with nothing much left but to have a perfect night rest. The fresh outdoor air, vitamin D from the sun’s rays and the scents emanating from the flowering plants will make you have a better sleep at night.
If you are a rare dreamer, then you will dream the night after you spend time in your garden. And you won’t even struggle to catch sleep as reduced anxiety and stress levels will make you fall in sleep faster than you may expect.
Having gone through the different ways gardening can improve your health, nothing should stand between you and this most important activity. I don’t believe there is anything more important than your health.
Even if you have been gardening but haven’t known about these benefits, it is now time you change your entire view of gardening. Some of these conditions mentioned in this article can easily and cheaply be prevented if every member of the family embraced gardening.
What are some of the health benefits you have experienced from your gardening? Share your story to motivate others. Let’s save lives.
Barbara Herring is a contributor at TheFilix.com, where she writes about everything from hydroponics and aquaponics to regular garden chores. She loves troubleshooting plant problems, and when she’s not knee-deep in her garden, she’s usually skateboarding, surfing, or playing with her cat.