When it comes to keeping our physical and mental health in check, people are quick to recommend exercise or meditation to help you feel refreshed and invigorated, but there is something that most of us can do which is often far more accessible and easier to manage than a 10K run. What is it that we’re talking about? Gardening! Gardening gives us some amazing health benefits, some you might not even be aware of, so here are 8 things you need to know!
Gardening actively burns calories. Depending on the activity you are doing and for how long, gardening can be strenuous work. Just being outside and moving your body in different ways is a great way to burn calories. If you are gardening for three to four hours at a time, you can expect to burn the same number of calories as you would if you went to the gym for an hour.
It is Ecotherapy
Ecotherapy is not a new term, but gardening can give us a much-needed dose of this. We all need to spend time outdoors; we need the vitamin D and other health benefits of fresh air. It can help to reduce the symptoms anxiety and depression as well as reduce your heart rate back to a normal level. Being outside and away from our phones can also reduce stress and anxiety that we relate to them.
Our jobs are stressful, our lives are stressful, just generally existing in the 21st Century is stressful. Being outside gardening releases endorphins, which reduces stress and reduces the amount of cortisol, or the stress hormone that our bodies produce. The more sun we get, the better we feel and the more we undertake a task in the garden the more accomplished we feel. As a result, we feel better when we start gardening and our bodies react accordingly.
Reduce the Chance Of Stroke
When we are stressed, our blood thickens. This is due to the increase of cortisol in our systems which is responsible for how we manifest stress. When we get outside in the garden, our stress is vastly reduced. This in turn means that our blood doesn’t thicken as much, thus reducing the chance of stroke.
When we garden we feel an overriding sense of purpose. Not only is there an end result we can look on with pride, we also get affirmation from the effort that we have put in to get it there. Much of our lives now revolves around effort that we put in for other people, so when we are gardening, we are doing it for ourselves. This affirmation means that we can look on our work at the end of the day, week and month and see if develop and get a sense of purpose knowing that we achieved something. Growing your own tomatoes or creating your own vegetable garden gives both a sense of purpose and achievement.
When we are sat in our homes our senses are often dulled. The temperature doesn’t fluctuate, the light doesn’t change, and the smells remain pretty static. When you’re outside, you’re in a situation that is constantly changing which changes our sensory response. You’ll find that when you spend more time out in your garden you become more attune to your body’s sensory response. This sensory response is amazing for our overall health and wellbeing and if you have children, it is also excellent for them. The different textures, colours and smells are an excellent learning ground for small children and are helps adults reconnect with themselves and their natural environment.
Good For Your Bones
Gardening is really good for our bones! Not only is it the exercise part of it, it is also the vitamin D that we get from the sunlight. We need vitamin D in order to promote healthy and strong bones, not only in adults but also in children. The movement aspect of gardening also means that we develop our bone strength, as we spend time in positions we wouldn’t normally be in when we are in our homes.
If you are gardening and cultivating flowers, why not start cultivating vegetables too? Not only do you get all the added benefits of gardening, you also get the bonus of being able to eat healthier! There is a certain level of satisfaction that comes with preparing and cooking something that you have grown yourself, on top of the multitude of health benefits that come from eating a healthy diet.
Gardening gives us so many benefits that we could carry on from a list of 8. Whether you are feeling stressed, angry or upset, getting out in the garden can help you feel better. Not only will it help you feel mentally better, it will also help your body feel stronger and more flexible.