Gardening for Health
Few things are as satisfying as growing something from seed to harvest. Gardening is also a fun way to add more fresh fruits and vegetables to your diet. But gardening has positive benefits beyond nutrition. What are they?
- Gardening burns calories.
Gardening gets your body moving. Digging in the dirt, lifting, reaching and squatting all stretch muscles and engage your core. On a daily basis, these extra movements help burn calories and get your heart pumping. Increasing your heart rate burns calories and provides other cardiovascular benefits.
- Gardening boosts your mood.
You’ve probably heard that fresh air and “an honest day’s work” outside are good for your mental health. There is more truth to these statements than you might think. More specifically, dirt contains a healthy bacteria known as M. vaccae, which can actually reduce anxiety and boost serotonin levels.
- Gardening reduces stress.
In addition to the good bacteria your body receives from digging in the dirt, gardening can also decrease stress. Focusing on the hobby’s daily tasks gives you something to think about rather than worrying over things you can’t change. Seeing things thrive and grow is a good way to introduce calm into an anxious mind.
- Gardening improves self-esteem.
Gardening builds self-esteem by providing an achievable goal to work toward, and you must use your hands to accomplish it. When you see the seeds you’ve planted begin to bloom, the knowledge that you nurtured life from something that seemed inert is incredibly satisfying. Instead of focusing on struggles in other areas of life, you can feel satisfaction in your ability to grow things.
- Gardening builds family connections.
Working alone in the garden can be peaceful, but gardening can be a satisfying group activity when you invite family members to help. Gardening is a great bonding opportunity! It gives you time to communicate in a neutral, low-pressure environment. It also teaches children lessons of responsibility, patience and caretaking. Additionally, early exposure to fresh soil has been linked to allergy reduction and stronger immune systems.
Are you looking for a satisfying way to boost your physical and mental health? Give gardening a try! If you don’t have the means to create your own garden, your town may have community gardens that are open to the public. Check with your local parks and recreation department for more details.
And if you need more help or advice on how to approach your health holistically, reach out to the team at Community Access Network. Our professionals can help you prioritize your health.