A guest post by Tristan of Sydney Gardeners
Do you love gardening or wish that you did? Here are some of the valuable benefits of gardening for your health.
Benefits of gardening on your health
In the fast-paced environment of modern life, finding time to unwind isn’t always easy. Much of modern leisure time is spent on activities that don’t improve the quality of our lives.
Caring for your own garden can do wonders for your well being and bring with it an abundance of healthy habits you’ll cultivate without even realizing it.
So roll up your sleeves and start sowing your seeds. In this article, we’ll look at the benefits of gardening and why you should start your own little veggie patch today.
Creating and maintaining healthy habits
For a lot of us, healthy eating is a bit of drag we somehow manage to wriggle our way out of. We know what’s best for us, but maintaining healthy habits isn’t always easy.
It’s never an exciting occasion to go shopping for vegetables we aren’t sure if we’ll eat. Speaking for myself, I have a bad habit of eyeing the vegetables for too long in my fridge.
Growing your own fruit and vegetables adds a layer of excitement and curiosity to healthy eating. The relationship you have with food is on an entirely different level when you’ve grown it.
Every harvest is an exciting occasion and the larger your garden grows, you’ll be far more inclined to maintain your healthy eating habits. As my garden grew, I began buying more fruit and vegetables to complement the meals I would cook using my homegrown produce.
An additional benefit to growing your own food is the flavor. You get to pick your produce when it’s ripe and it tastes much better that way. You’ll also have the satisfaction of knowing that it wasn’t treated with chemicals.
Your body creates cortisol in response to the stress and frustrations that you feel. Thankfully, another one of the benefits of gardening is stress relief.
In the last decade, there’s been a growing field of horticultural therapy. More doctors are recommending community gardening to their patients as a way to improve their overall well being.
Furthermore, a variety of charities have sprouted that provide garden communities free of charge to war veterans that struggle with their mental health.
Try it for yourself, especially after a workday that didn’t go as planned.
Our frustrations so easily follow us home. A common distraction people use is television, but watching doesn’t solve anything. The negative feelings are still there. They’re temporarily numbed.
Gardening, on the other hand, is highly stimulating. A few of the benefits of gardening are the physical movement, positive emotions from spending time in nature, and the excitement of a new harvest.
Break from technology
Gardening is a simplistic process and that’s part of the beauty of it. Gardening is a stark contrast to the fast-paced lives so many people live.
Our leisure time is spent flicking, clicking, and scrolling. We never stop to slow down, take a break from constant distraction and be in the present.
It’s no secret that mental health issues have been rising as technology has grown far more prevalent in our lives. I like to think gardening creates a bubble from the outside world, blocking the bombardment of emails, apps, and messages that never seem to stop.
Gardening involves a variety of different skills, from figuring out new ways to reduce plastic, refining pest deterring methods, to planning out new garden beds.
Gardening allows us to problem-solve, be creative, practice organization, and also experience a newfound passion.
Compare this to spending our leisure time on social networks where the average person is spending a little over two hours a day on social media.
I often wonder about the experiences I would miss if I continued my technology habits. I prefer the clarity that gardening has given me.
Benefits for your memory
Korean researchers found that dementia patients who spent a minimum of 20 minutes a day gardening, had increased brain nerve growth in the areas associated with memory.
Another study found horticultural therapy which involves gardening can be an effective treatment for dementia patients.
In fact, many Scandinavian countries run programs where dementia patients participate in green care programs. They spend most of their time in these programs working in farms and gardens.
Rigorous exercise without realizing it
Some people might scoff at the idea of gardening as a rigorous exercise, although once you start you’ll realize how easily you can break a sweat. You’ll burn calories as you work on your garden and continue to improve it.
It slowly but surely steals away more time in your week. The added time replaces other habits or activities we usually would do. My gym membership became obsolete.
More importantly, I was doing far more exercise in the garden than I ever did in the gym without even realizing it.
The goal was growing vegetables and expanding my garden, while in the beginning it’s not so rigorous, if your garden grows so will the time and exercise involved.
You can be sure that cultivating your garden will work your entire body. If you’ve ever spent time pulling weeds, you know what I’m talking about.
The benefits of gardening aren’t always easy to see. Perhaps you didn’t consider that it could help you eat more healthfully, exercise more, or spend less time watching television. It’s a very rewarding experience.
Long term rewards and benefits of gardening
Your garden is a long term commitment and the rewards you do reap, don’t usually come quickly.
Short term pleasure is all too prevalent in the modern age. Much of modern culture is focused on expedient pleasures. It’s what sells and is what’s marketed to us most.
Practicing an activity that takes these long term rewards is good for you and hugely satisfying. It can be weeks or months before your first harvest. During that time, constant attention and nurturing are required for your crop to be successful.
In conclusion, gardening is a satisfying hobby that carries a myriad of health benefits including some things you may have not considered before.
If you haven’t started gardening yet, it’s fun and not too difficult.
If you’re in an apartment, balcony gardens are the way to go. I started off growing a few herbs in my kitchen and had no idea where these simple herbs would lead me.
Tristan is a passionate gardener from down under, he’s always looking to share and learn new ideas. You can find his blog Sydney Gardeners here.
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