If you want to improve your physical and mental health, sometimes the solution is right out there – literally. Your garden can provide you with a long list of benefits that can improve your quality of life.
1. Gardening Can Reduce Stress
Are you feeling stressed? Although it might sound counterproductive, physical movements like gardening can decrease your stress level. Studies have shown that being with nature helps lower common biomarkers associated with stress, such as heart rate and blood pressure.
A popular explanation is the attention restoration theory (ART). According to this theory, your mental fatigue can be restored by a break from external stimulation, especially something as natural as plants.
Gardening can also help take your mind away from stress triggers. It reduces rumination or repetitive negative thoughts that can be associated with stress. It also gives you a sense of control over your environment, which is linked to better mental health and lower cortisol levels.
2. Gardening Can Boost Your Mood
Physical activity like gardening can help beat the blues. Some studies even suggest that physical activities are more effective in reducing depression than using antidepressants.
The researchers concluded that the “green effect” might be due to decreased stress or increased physical activity. Also, although it might sound like pseudoscience, color psychology associates green with relaxation simply because it reminds someone of nature.
3. This Activity Makes Good Exercise
You perhaps already know the dangers of carrying extra weight. The problem is, you don’t find traditional exercises to be interesting. A good alternative then is gardening.
When you garden, you burn calories while you engage in repetitive movements. You also need to bend and squat, leading to greater calorie burn compared to other activities like sitting at your desk since it exercises major muscle groups.
Gardening is most popular among seniors who are not used to exercising regularly. It can be low impact, so as long as it doesn’t have bending involved, it doesn’t hurt the knees and joints.
Most of all, tending to your plants is an example of natural movement, one of the principles of the Blue Zones. In other words, this is more effortless than other well-known workouts.
4. It Could Strengthen Your Immunity
If you’re looking for natural ways to boost your immunity, gardening is something you should consider.
When you garden, your immune system might get a boost because of the exposure to nature, which could influence your mental health through physiological pathways or psychological effects.
Exposure to plants can increase both serotonin and dopamine levels. These neurotransmitters make you feel good and positive about yourself, which is why gardening can be considered a form of self-care.
How to Make the Most of Your Gardening Activity
Gardening is both fun and beneficial to one’s health, but it can also lead to problems like an aching back, injury, and even allergies. How do you maximize this activity while being safe? Here are six tips:
1. Keep Yourself Safe at All Times
Use tools as much as possible. If you have issues with squatting or bending, invest in an electric lawnmower. This way, you can get rid of weeds and tall grasses while keeping your posture intact.
2. Join a Gardening Group
Know that gardening isn’t just for your benefit but also for the benefit of others. Make it a group activity or at least include others, so you can grow vegetables together or spend time with friends while tending to your plants.
3. Pick the Right Site and Equipment for Your Gardening Needs
Know what your plants need. Some vegetables only require eight hours of sunlight daily, while some may need more than 12 hours of planting under direct sunlight. Moreover, if you live in a hot region like a desert area, you probably don’t want to be gardening during the day.
4. Enjoy the Activity to the Fullest
The key to staying motivated is looking forward to your activity. This means you shouldn’t dread spending time in your garden. It’s not only about keeping yourself healthy but also enjoying the process.
5. Lead a Healthier Lifestyle
You’re gardening because you want to stay healthy, but this doesn’t mean you can eat junk food and expect the activity to compensate for it. If you don’t lead a healthier lifestyle, in general, your body won’t have enough resources to keep up with gardening.
6. Watch Out for Your Allergies
It’s important to watch out for your allergies. If you have a dog, you might be allergic to its fur, so avoid letting it roam around the garden as much as possible.
Know that fertilizers and pesticides may cause some unfavorable effects on your health as well. They can irritate the skin or cause respiratory problems if you work with them too often. Lastly, some plants can release spores that can trigger hay fever.
Gardening has several benefits. It can help you lose weight and stay fit while keeping your body active and less sedentary. Moreover, gardening is fun, so you won’t even feel like you’re working out.
However, while gardening is beneficial to your health, it can also cause injury or allergies if not properly conducted. Therefore, be careful with what kind of garden you’ll set up and keep yourself protected at all times. Invest in the right tools for the activity and stay healthy.