Planting flowers and veggies in your garden or backyard can offer you some bountiful bouquets and delicious crops. But the benefits of gardening go way beyond the fragrant blossoms and fresh harvest. Besides being a pleasant leisure activity, gardening can also improve your health in many ways.
Going out in the sun, pushing a mower, pulling weeds, digging holes, sowing seeds, doing physical activities all around the garden, or even just admiring nature, every gardening activity can offer a plethora of physical, mental, and emotional health benefits that make it so enjoyable and worthwhile.
Also, being able to connect with nature, be part of its growth, and its thriving process can bring so much fulfillment and positivity to one’s life, making it a favored pastime amongst many.
11 improvements that gardening can bring to one’s health
Gardening improves your physical strength, endurance, flexibility, and dexterity. And with the right practices, you will be able to avail all the benefits of gardening.
We have curated a bunch of different ways in which you can make the most of your gardening experience:
1.) Grow and Cook Your Own Food through gardening can improve your health
One of the most common and amazing benefits of gardening is getting a fresh and organic harvest that you can easily turn into tasty and healthy meals. Right from try out a whole new recipe with your home-grown eggplants to garnishing the plate with basil leaves, gardening can open a wide range of gastronomical experiences for you.
While cooking home-grown veggies and herbs can help you build your culinary skills, it can also support mental health.
Not to mention, cooking your own food is a great way to keep control of your diet and increase wholesome meals.
Plants you should consider growing your garden to improve your health
One can try growing herbs like oregano, dill, garden thyme, rosemary, and peppermint. These have the highest concentrations of antioxidants and also require little space.
And some vegetables that are quite easy to grow are zucchini, bell peppers, and tomatoes.
2.) Plan Out Different Growing Seasons can better your health through gardening
Besides growing various crops in your garden, you also need to plan for different growing seasons in your region. This will help you get a fresh and healthy harvest all year long.
Do some research as to which plants you can grow in your region during different seasons. Also, there are a few strategies that would help. By installing row covers, low tunnels, and cold frames, you can better protect crops from winters and extend their growing seasons to a considerable level.
Plants you can foster throughout the seasons
Also, by sowing veggies like broccoli, cabbage, and late-season leeks in the last months of summer, you can ensure that they stand over winter and join the last of the winter-stored produce.
This will ensure that you have no ‘hungry gap’ and your kitchen is full of nutritious and healthy harvest all year long.
3.) Work Smarter, Not Harder with gardening to better your health
Several garden activities would get your muscles moving. However, you must use certain ergonomic tools to ensure your muscles get the right support. This will ensure that you do not stress your muscles and cause any damage.
One should consider using padded-handle tools, non-slip gloves, and kneeling pads.
And people who are unable to squat should try kneeling. Also, it is important to bend only from the knees and never from the back.
Other gardening tools you can look into
Moreover, one can take the help of gardening equipment that would make tasks like raking, mowing, weeding, pruning, and digging quite easier and quicker for you.
However, working smarter does not mean that you get to laze around. If you wish to turn gardening into a healthy hobby, you need to get your heart rate up by putting some welly into every task.
4.) Have a Gardening Routine to improve your health
Gardening is not something that you do once in a while. It would be best if you had a regular gardening routine to reap all its benefits.
A routine would not only help you be more productive, but you will also witness your crops flourish.
You should make a list of chores and then start designating days/months/seasons to each category of chores. Other than this, it would help if you also determined how much time you can and are willing to devote to your garden. This will help you develop a healthy habit of getting out and tending your garden. Just spending time in the lap of nature daily can improve your health in several ways.
5.) Involve Your kids with gardening to better your family’s health
Gardening can turn into a fun activity for your kids as well. While it offers you an opportunity to bond with your little ones, they will also learn new skills and perhaps grow fonder of gardening.
Gardening can help children learn the importance of planning, hard work, and patience.
You can include various games and make gardening activities a lot more exciting for them. For instance, the one who digs the deepest ditch or pulls the most weeds wins. Or, you can assign different tasks to everyone and work as a group. To help you more on this, I have written a recent article on 11 things you can do to create a fun kid’s garden. It covers the benefits of doing so, covering kid gardening tools and being more connected to their senses.
6.) Incorporate Physical Exercises in gardening to improve your health
According to research, gardeners report 12 hours of physical activity in a week, around 30 percent more than non-gardeners.
Thus, gardening is one of the best ways to incorporate physical exercises and meet the recommendations set for moderate physical activity for an average human being.
Not to mention, gardening helps improve flexibility, strength, endurance, and dexterity.
Benefits of gardening to overall physical health and to the body
Just like any other physical activity, gardening also helps in stabilizing blood pressure and lowering cholesterol levels. So, it can protect against osteoporosis, heart disease, diabetes other diseases caused due to a sedentary lifestyle and obesity.
However, it is important to warm up your body by taking a brisk walk around the yard before taking up any strenuous or vigorous gardening tasks.
7.) Mix your gardening activities Up to improve your health
While gardening offers several physical activities, it is also important to ensure that you mix up all of them to turn them into a whole-body workout.
So, while raking, mowing, or digging, be sure to change movements and alternate the sides of your body.
This will ensure that all your major muscle groups such as legs, back, buttocks, neck, abdomen, arms, and shoulders move and work. For instance, you can switch hands while spreading mulch or while digging or pruning.
Exercises you can incorporate through gardening
However, when it comes to the lower body, simple squats would do the trick. Instead of bending down, you should squat as you weed to help you work your leg muscles. And if you are up for some cardio, you can get the push mower out from the shed.
You will notice that you are sweating profusely by the time you are mowing your lawn.
And to burn around 300 calories more, you can rake the trimmed leaves. Not only will it give your garden a neat makeover, but it will also help you get in shape.
8.) Stay Protected when gardening to better your health
While gardening in the sun helps you soak up some Vitamin D, it is important to wear good sunscreen along with protective gear like a hat, a pair of gloves, and a long-sleeved shirt.
This will protect you against cuts, insect bites, or skin irritants and will help you enjoy the time you spend in your garden. Also, it is better to avoid going when the sun’s rays are strongest. This is between 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
If necessary, wear light colors that absorb less heat and or try to stay in the shade. Other than this, keep a water bottle handy to ensure that you stay hydrated while tending crops. After all, your plants are the only ones that need to be watered!
9.) Sit Back and Relax with gardening to better your health
Doing absolutely nothing in your garden is also equal to do doing a lot for your health. You can sit down and relax in the lap of mother nature. While tending your garden offers a lot of satisfaction, relaxing on the lush green grass and observing the beauty of nature can be therapeutic in its own way.
As human beings, we have many quandaries in life, and stepping outside can be a great escape.
The tranquillity offered by nature can wash away all your worries and reduce stress and anxiety to a considerable level.
Studies have shown that spending time in nature can help in lowering the stress hormone cortisol and thus reduce stress. So, do not forget to get out in the garden whenever you get some time and spend some time with those colorful flowers, healthy fruits, and nutritious vegetables. This is covered in greater detail in my recent article on reasons why gardening can be therapeutic, which also covers different garden types for this therapeutic purpose.
10.) You can improve your health through gardening by using all your senses
A garden can have the ability to tickle all your senses. Building a sensory garden can increase the health benefits manifold.
With a sensory garden, you will create a space that encourages you to touch, taste, listen, and admire the little elements of nature.
You can incorporate plants with different textures and patterns, ornamental grasses, and crops to stimulate the sense of sight.
Things you can add to your garden to stimulate the senses
Similarly, you can include water fountains and bird feeders that will help you stimulate the sense of sound through the drizzling sound of water and the melodious chirping of birds.
Consider growing strong-scented flowers like roses, jasmine, and honeysuckle to stimulate your smelling senses.
With these elements, you will be able to create a multi-sensory experience that will help your mind, body, and soul enjoy a perfectly soothing escape!
11.) Get Involved in an Active Gardening Community to improve your health
Participating in an active gardening community will allow you to make a couple of friends who enjoy gardening as much as you do.
You can get in contact with the local garden centers, botanical gardens, and nurseries that will help you come across active community gardens in your area.
Benefits to joining active gardening communities
It will give you a sense of belongingness since you would be working towards a common goal. Not to mention, one can learn so much in a community garden.
Since you will be surrounded by people who have diverse levels of gardening knowledge and experience, you will be able to get all your queries answered and learn some new skills. This way, you will also become more efficient, produce better-quality crops and even reduce expenses.
Conclusion on how gardening improves your health
According to research, people who have been involved in community gardens have a better and more positive outlook towards health and well-being. They also tend to be more considerate towards the environment, have better dietary habits, and foster better relationships with people.
There are several ways to make the most of their gardening practices and avail of all its amazing benefits. We hope that at least one of the above-mentioned ways would help you create a much better gardening schedule to improve your physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
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