Gardens Grow Healthy Bodies and Peace of Mind
Everyone knows that eating healthy and regular exercise is important. Alternatives for us is to try and think outside of the box. In doing so, you will be amazed at the types of activities that actually bring a great deal of benefit to the body and mind.
Don’t Like to Jog? Don’t Like to Bicycle? Love to Garden!
Many people find gardening highly enjoyable as a hobby – but many of these same people may not realize that gardening actually has merit as a healthy activity on many levels.
If you garden at least 30 minutes at a time, a couple of times weekly, you are participating in a recommended form of exercise. The exercise benefits obtained by gardening can be compared to brisk walking or riding a bicycle. For instance, when you are reaching and pulling, you are stretching. If you have to carry bags of dirt, pots, water cans, or other tools you are also adding anaerobic exercise, which helps strengthen your muscles.
Gardening can improve flexibility, hand eye coordination, strength and help keep you fit, because it does burn calories and helps you tone your body.
Nutrition With Taste
In addition to the physical exercise aspect of gardening, there is the health aspect associated with the nutritional value found in a vegetable you have grown.
Today, many of the fruits and vegetables available to us in the market have been “modified” to keep it fresher longer, and have been fertilized with chemicals as well as sprayed with pesticides. By the time they land on the kitchen table they have lost nutrients and can be bland and even somewhat tasteless. Plus, you can not always be sure that the chemicals used in growing processes are completely eliminated – even with a thorough washing.
Many people are also leery about genetically modified foods. If you grow your own fruits and vegetables, you might be pleasantly surprised by the fresh and distinct homegrown taste and find yourself craving more healthy foods. The foods you grow are also more flavorful just because you have gone through the efforts to grow them yourself.
Salt lovers might find the fresh, bold taste of homegrown herbs will change their habit of showering meals with a large dose of salt. This all leads to eating a much healthier, well-balanced diet, which can really boost your overall health and energy.
The Mind Body Connection and Ornamental Gardening
If you are more interested in flowers and ornamental trees, there are still psychological benefits (both food gardening and flower gardening help by giving you a mental health boost).
Gardening is physical, but it’s also relaxing. When you participate in activities in natural surroundings, it can be quite calming and peaceful, both of which can assist in keeping our minds and bodies healthy. Relaxation and stress relief is good for one’s heart and blood pressure.
Sunshine for Health, an Added Bonus
It is important to keep your skin protected from the sun, but some studies show that a healthy dose of vitamin D, received directly from the sun, helps both mentally and physically. In fact, there is thought to be a link between lack of sunlight, low vitamin D and depression.
People who are affected with a form of depression called Seasonal Affective Disorder that occurs in winter months use special lights that mimic sunlight. The disorder subsides or lessens when the light and heat of summer returns.
The Gardening Brain Work Out
Gardening helps work the mind because you mentally plan your landscape and think about the proper care and maintenance of the growing plants. There are endless varieties of plants and flowers that requires care at all difficulty levels, and an infinite number of books that tell you how to do it. The possibilities of what can be done to stimulate the brain is endless.
Social Networking, Gardening and Health
Studies have shown links between one’s immune system, overall physical and mental well-being, and social networks. Gardening is a great way to increase your social support system – there are many groups and clubs out there for gardeners. A lot of these clubs participate in shows and competitions.
There is much involved with the process of gardening from beginning to end. Whatever is grown brings with it a tangible reward. Whether it is beautiful to look at or becomes a mouth-watering dish on your table, there is also the peace and serenity of being a part of nature and the overwhelming sense of accomplishment when the fruits of your labor are harvested.