The physical benefits of gardening are often overlooked. A bit of outdoor time can help you maintain a healthy weight and blood pressure levels and improve mental health. You don’t need to have an expansive garden for the activity to be beneficial either – simply interacting with plants has been shown to enhance moods and contribute positively towards your wellbeing!
1. Gardening is great for your physical health
There are several ways in which gardening helps the body. One such benefit is weight loss: many people start gardening to lose weight and end up having more energy and feeling fitter as a result! Likewise, after time spent weeding, planting, or working with fresh produce, gardeners find that they have improved muscular strength. The benefits of this kind of exercise on healthy bones have been mentioned before; it also burns calories – 150 per half hour for an average size adult male. Therefore overall, it’s beneficial not only for keeping you fit but also for helping maintain your ideal weight.
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2. Gardening is great for your mental health
In addition to studies showing the positive effects gardening has on our moods, another research project investigating the benefits of ‘green exercise’ found that people who walked among trees saw an improvement in their attention spans and felt calmer overall. In a similar vein, another research looked into whether working in a vertical garden would increase productivity instead of traditional office work. It was found that workers became productive when surrounded by greenery – perhaps the fresh air had something to do with this.
3. Gardening gives purpose to older adults
A study carried out at the University of Iowa found that elderly people who had a focus, such as gardening, were more active and generally happier than those without one. There are also many studies into the social benefits of helping in community gardens. Participants can learn new skills and make friends – important for independent living.
4. You don’t need much space to garden
If you live in a small flat or a house with limited outdoor space, it may seem like gardening isn’t for you – but this simply isn’t true! Even if you live in an apartment and have only access to one window box, there are many home and gardening ideas out there that you can try. These are particularly suitable for growing herbs and salad vegetables, as well as flowering plants to brighten up your space while you’re at work. Allotment gardening is becoming more popular as people are increasingly passionate about organic produce and healthy food choices; plus, there’s something quite fun about getting your hands dirty while producing the things you eat!
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5. It gives children fresh air time
We all know how good it is for kids to play outside rather than spend hours indoors on a computer screen. Still, many parents worry they aren’t doing enough to get their children outdoors and enjoying the fresh air. What better way than gardening. which can inspire a lifelong love of plants? Whether they’re simply watering the vegetables or weeding and planting seeds, kids will have fun getting their hands dirty while learning about nature at the same time!
6. You don’t need to be a master gardener
Gardening is by no means an impossible skill that only experts can carry out successfully. There’s so much information and advice freely available online, whether it be on YouTube or from gardening groups in your area – you could easily learn everything you need to know in just a few weeks! And even if all you have at your disposal are a couple of flowerpots, some dirt, and the plant seeds, that’s enough to get started!
7. Gardening offers mental stimulation
One study undertaken at the University of Michigan found that older adults who gardened scored higher on their cognitive skills than those who didn’t; dementia research has also found that gardening helps sufferers retain memory longer than those with no outside interests. In general, gardening involves all the senses, from touching and feeling to seeing and smelling – plus it’s a lot more interesting than watching TV!
8. You can use your harvest to make healthy meals
As well as improving your mood, giving you purpose and helping children get fresh air time, growing plants offers health benefits through the products they provide. Whether you’re making delicious dips from courgettes or salads with cucumbers, homegrown ingredients taste better than anything bought at the store. This means it will also save you money in the long run. Plus, there are many studies into how organic food contains higher levels of vitamins and minerals.
With all these benefits to gardening, it seems crazy not to get involved. You don’t need a green thumb or even much space- just some time and dedication, which will be rewarded with healthier eating, lower stress levels, and an improved mood. So what are you waiting for?