We find tranquility and healing in nature, and benefit from its relaxing qualities. Gardening can be a very gratifying activity for old and young alike. Research shows that gardening in particular is associated with mental well-being and physical benefits.
Here are the major health benefits of gardening:
A growing body of scientifically proven evidence shows that gardening is an effective stress reliever.
A study conducted in the Netherlands suggests that gardening can alleviate stress better than other calming leisure activities.
Two groups of participants were instructed to either stay indoors and read, or garden for 30 minutes after completing a taxing task. Later, the gardening group reported being in a better and relaxed mood than the reading group. The gardening group also had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
Fresh air, unplugging from technology, and focusing on tending your garden can open up your mind to think more creatively. Gardening helps people connect with the earth. Connecting with your body, mind and spirit allows creative thoughts to flow freely.
Improves Mental Health
In another study, people diagnosed with depression, constant low mood, and even bipolar disorders were asked to spend six hours a week gardening to grow flowers and vegetables.
After a period of three months, half of the participants experienced a significant improvement in their symptoms of depression. Their mood continued to improve three months after the gardening experiment ended.
Not only does gardening get you out into fresh air and sunshine, it also boosts circulation and burns calories.
Gardening won't do much for your cardiovascular fitness, but the different movements in gardening allow you to get some exercise benefits out of it.
Movements like digging, sowing, weeding, and similar repetitive actions require strength and flexibility. This makes for good low-impact exercise, especially for people who can't perform strenuous physical exercise. Gardening is incredibly helpful to improve the fitness levels of elderly people, people with disabilities, or those who suffer from chronic pain.
Boosts Brain Health
Some studies suggest that the physical and mental benefits associated with gardening can help reduce the risk of developing dementia in older adults.
In two different studies that recruited people in their 60s and 70s for about 16 years, researchers found that people who gardened frequently had a 36 percent and 47 percent lower risk of dementia than people who did not garden. The findings remained firm even after researchers also took a range of other health factors into account.
The freshest food you can eat is the food you grow yourself. If your home garden is filled with fruits and vegetables, it's the healthiest option you have.
Research also shows that gardeners eat more fruits and veggies than their peers. This is also another big reason why people who garden are healthier than those who don't.
Source: Romana D'Souza