Digging Your Way to Better Health: The Benefits of...

Digging Your Way to Better Health: The Benefits of Gardening

If you’ve never tried gardening, you could be missing out on a fantastic way to improve your physical and mental health. Gardening is not just a hobby but a therapeutic activity that yields a wealth of benefits that go beyond growing beautiful flowers and vegetables.

From enhanced mood to a healthier diet and stronger bones, there are countless reasons to add gardening to your and your child’s routine. Today, The White Wren explains why there’s no better time to pick up a shovel and start digging your way to better health!

Better Mood

Gardening is a well-known stress reliever that can significantly boost your mood and reduce anxiety. Mayo Clinic notes that spending time in nature and connecting with the earth can have a calming effect on your mind, helping you relax and feel more at ease. What’s more, gardening can stimulate endorphin production. These feel-good hormones will instantly elevate your mood and make you feel happier overall!

Aerobic Exercise

Gardening is a full-body workout that can strengthen your muscles and bones while improving your cardiovascular health. Whether you’re digging, raking, or watering, CNN points out that every gardening activity can burn calories and increase your heart rate.

Gardening can be a moderate to vigorous intensity exercise that helps you maintain a healthy weight and reduce the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes. That sounds like an enjoyable way to exercise!

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a vital nutrient our bodies must have to maintain healthy bones and immune systems, and gardening provides excellent exposure to it. The sun is our primary source of vitamin D; spending time outside in the early morning or late afternoon can give you your daily dose. Just remember to wear sunscreen and protective clothing to prevent sunburn and skin damage!

Healthier Diet

Gardening can inspire you to eat a healthier diet by boosting your intake of fruits and vegetables. When you grow your own produce, you have full control over how it’s grown and the kind of fertilizers or pesticides you use. In other words, you can ensure your food is free from harmful chemicals and has the maximum nutritional value. Gardening can also help you appreciate the value of fresh, whole foods and motivate you to cook creative meals at home.

Cognitive Function

Studies have shown that spending time in green spaces and engaging in nature-based activities can enhance brain function and reduce the risk of cognitive decline. Cultivating your plants and seeing them thrive can also enhance your problem-solving skills and creativity while giving you a sense of accomplishment.

Lifelong Learning

Lifelong learning in gardening involves continuously acquiring new knowledge and skills, adapting to changing environments and plant behaviors, and cultivating a deeper understanding of the interconnectedness of nature. You might even get inspired to learn more about how we tick. There are online classes for exploring the complexities of the human mind, which can lead to a degree in psychology, so you can exercise your mental muscle that much more.

How to Get Started

Starting your first garden can be fun and rewarding, but you may get overwhelmed if you don’t know where to begin. Here are some tips to consider:

  • Choose a location. Find a sunny spot in your yard or patio that gets at least six hours of direct sunlight per day.
  • Get your property surveyed. Getting your property surveyed before planting a garden can help you avoid potential issues such as encroaching on your neighbor’s property.
  • Determine what to plant. Consider starting with easy-to-grow plants like tomatoes, lettuce, or beans.
  • Prepare the soil. Clear the area of any debris or weeds, and add compost or other organic matter to improve soil quality.
  • Plant your seeds. Follow the planting instructions on the seat packets, and be sure to water regularly.
  • Maintain your garden. Keep an eye out for pests, diseases, and weeds. Address any issues properly, water as needed, and add fertilizer if your plants seem to be struggling. Use eco-friendly pest control like nematodes to fend off destructive pests like Japanese beetles.

Gardening is hard to beat when it comes to improving your physical and mental health, and that goes for children and adults alike! The next time you’re looking for a way to unwind or connect with nature, get a shovel and start digging. You might be pleasantly surprised at what you find!

Clara Beaufort
Home & Garden Contributor | + posts

Clara is a retired small business owner, who was born with two green thumbs. Recently, she handed the reins of the business she ran for 30 years over to her daughter. But retirement didn’t slow her down. She immediately got to work organizing and growing a community garden, but found her passion for gardening still wasn’t satisfied. And so the seed for a new business idea was planted! She created GardenerGigs to connect local gardeners with those in need of plant care help.

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