LOCKDOWN HEALTH TIP: GET INTO YOUR GARDEN
There’s nothing quite like the feeling of accomplishment you get when you plant a garden. And the even greater satisfaction you feel when you manage to keep everything in the garden alive. But did you know that weeding and watering can help you live longer and make your life more enjoyable? It’s true! Here are 7 surprising ways gardening improves your health:
1. It keeps your heart healthy
Gardening can make your heart happy. Both figuratively and literally! A recent study shows that gardening regularly can reduce your risk for a heart attack or stroke by 30%.
2. It combats loneliness
In a society that praises anti-social behavior, it can be pretty disheartening to know that loneliness can increase your risk for premature death by 50%. Yikes. Luckily, gardening can give you opportunities to bond with loved ones, or even with your community if you choose to participate in community gardening. Nothing builds relationships like weeding a garden together!
3. It prevents dementia and Alzheimer’s
Keeping your brain healthy could just be one shovel full of soil away! Gardening requires you to use a variety of brain functions like problem-solving and sensory awareness, and research shows that doing it regularly can reduce your risk for dementia by 36%.
4. It lowers stress
Stopping to smell the roses really could be the key to relieving your stress. A study that was conducted in the Netherlands required participants to complete a very stressful task, followed by 30 minutes of gardening. In the end, most participants’ stress hormone levels diminished and their moods were lifted. Pretty cool, right?
5. It improves your mental health
Have you noticed that people who spend their time in the garden are just extremely happy people? Well, gardening gives you a true sense of accomplishment and purpose. In fact, many therapists are now using gardening as a therapy technique to treat their patients’ anxiety and depression. And the results are pretty remarkable!
6. It promotes a healthy lifestyle
According to the Centers for Disease Control, gardening is listed as a form of moderate exercise. Yes, all that digging for potatoes and carrots really burns quite a lot of calories. 330 per hour in fact! Growing your own fruits and vegetables also allows you to eat healthier more often. So, if you’re looking for something to boost your overall health or to help you shed a few pounds, you might want to go invest in some gardening tools and seeds.
7. It boosts your immune system
Gardening gives you a chance to soak up a whole lot of the sunshine vitamin: vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiency can cause chronic fatigue, mood swings, and depression. But if you garden regularly (while wearing sunscreen, of course) you can soak up enough vitamin D to promote your bone health, which essentially boosts your immunity.
And with new research suggesting a link between inflammation — a key indicator of immune dysregulation — and a myriad of diseases, it could be that a little patch of vegetables or flowers packs the same punch as a bottle of anti-depressant medication.