Gardening Is Good For The Body Inside And Out
So often we find ourselves engrossed in work. From the smartphone to the laptop, it’s a vicious cycle of getting each task completed. The idea of a “break” from job duties is now delving into a social media app or game on our phones. Seldom do we take a real retreat from the electronics, the information overload, and the deadlines. That minimal time away from a digital device is in fact what’s leaving us feeling stressed, overworked, and fatigued. The idea of gardening may not present itself as a great solution…at first…but once you discover the benefits that come with actually digging into the dirt and seeing something bloom, you’ll immediately recognize the power gardening has on your mental and physical health.
We’re all for a great glass of wine at the end of a long day, but hear us out on this one. Sitting outside in the sun, fresh air, and not being connected to anything undone on your iPhone is an experience unlike any other. In fact, research out of the Netherlands concluded that gardening can fight stress even better than other relaxing leisure activities.
Participants in the study were divided into two groups and charged with completing a stressful task. Afterwards, one group was asked to read indoors, while the other group was instructed to garden for 30 minutes. The group that gardened reported being in a better mood than the reading group, and they also had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
Another study involving gardening comes from Norway. It focused on those who had been diagnosed with depression, persistent low mood, or “bipolar II disorder.” The participants spent six hours a week growing flowers and vegetables. After three months, more than half of the participants showed a measurable improvement in their depression symptoms, and those improvements continued even three months after the gardening project ended.
It seems that it’s not the smartphone or television that we’re necessarily addicted to, it’s any object that requires our attention. When you are focused on the digging, planting, and upkeep of a garden, your mind has the ability to shut out the need for anything else, as all your concentration is targeted on your gardening.
Gardening is certainly no cross-fit class, but it does get your blood moving. The stretching, pulling and carrying of your tools and plants is beneficial to your body. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, you can burn up to 330 calories during just one hour of light gardening and yard work. In addition, you get Vitamin D from being exposed to the sun, which allows your body to absorb the calcium and phosphorus it needs for healthy bones and teeth.
Fruits of your Labor
One of the most rewarding parts of gardening is the end product. Whether you’re growing vegetables to prepare for your family, fruits for refreshing snacks during the summer, or flowers for the aroma and beauty, seeing something through completion is rewarding.
Lowers Risk of Dementia
Gardening is not just good for your mental clarity now, but research shows it can also help lower your risk of developing dementia. Two different studies followed people in their 60s and 70s for up to 16 years, and among those who gardened regularly, 36% and 47%, respectively, had a lower risk of dementia than their non-gardening counterparts.