The Health Benefits of Gardening
posted by The Live Better Team | April 26, 2016
Chances are, after you envy a friend’s lush garden, you wonder how much work it takes. However, gardening can be a lot of fun and carries many benefits for physical and mental health even without a green thumb. Here’s how:
Simply put, gardening is good exercise with physical benefits, particularly when combined with regular professional health care. Michigan State University reveals that 2.5 hours of moderate activity weekly can lower the risk of:
Type 2 diabetes
High blood pressure
If you’re a gardener, you’re likely to put in 40 to 50 minutes more exercise than those who opt for other activities like biking or walking. For many people, the smell of the soil and the air combine to make this activity a lot more fun than so-called “regular” exercise. And, Everyday Health points out, even light gardening burns around 300 calories per hour.
The mechanics of gardening help maintain fine motor skills and strengthen muscle tone. Some experts even believe that fresh air might help prevent Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
Gardeners put in 40-50 minutes more exercise than those who opt for other activities like biking or walking.
Lots of relaxing activities conquer stress, but one Dutch study suggests that gardening does it best. Two groups of individuals in the Netherlands received instructions to either read inside or garden for 30 minutes. CNN says reports from the gardening group showed they emerged in a better mood than their reading counterparts and also had lower levels of cortisol, a stress hormone.
As a matter of fact, Marcus Tullius Cicero advised, “If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.”
Gardening helps lower stress hormone levels and improves your overall mood.
Gardening can also reduce stress associated with concern over the environment, Prevention.com reports. One California gardener reports that up to 30 percent of all the waste from her household ends up in a compost bin.
Relaxed individuals usually have a much more positive mental outlook than others do. Experts associate gardening with mental clarity and feelings of being rewarded, according to Michigan State University. Whether your efforts are in a home plot or in a community garden, you’re likely to experience a sense of gratitude as you complete the process of preparing the soil through reaching the harvest. Many gardeners also develop a positive mindset thanks to added property value and less money spent on shopping.
CNN cites the results of two studies that followed seniors for as long as 16 years. Those in their 60s who gardened on a regular basis had a 36 percent less chance of developing dementia than their non-gardening peers did. For those in their 70s, the figure was 47 percent.
You might love gorgeous roses or lovely lilies, but have you considered the advantages of growing your own food? Home gardens where fruits and vegetables thrive provide the freshest food you can get. Involving youngsters in gardening also makes them much more likely to try foods like radicchio or arugula.
Your garden doesn’t have to be a half-acre plot. Among more manageable alternatives are container gardens, rock gardens, small wildflower plots, a few plants in a cutting garden and rooftop gardens for urbanites, according to Gardening Know How.
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.