The Amazing Health Benefits of Gardening
Published February 15, 2007 by:Afton Nelson
It’s no secret that gardening has many benefits besides being able to enjoy high quality, fresh produce. Among these benefits is increased mental and physical health. Gardening has continued to increase in popularity from just 10 years ago. More and more people are picking up the gardening hobby and sticking with it for the joy it brings and the health perks as well. Here are just a few of the ways gardening can improve your physical and mental health.
Gardening can actually be a nice, low impact work out. Weeding or cultivating can burn around 200 calories an hour. Doing more strenuous garden work such as clearing weeds orr hauling rocks can even burn as much as 600 calories per hour. Experts suggest that Even low-to-moderate intensity activities, when done for as little as 30 minutes a day, bring cardiovascular benefits. Working in the garden can also be a form of strength training and build endurance and flexibility. An article in the August 2005 issue of Reader’s Digest suggests that “between edging and raking the lawn, walking back and forth to the mulch pile, pulling weeds, digging holes, and planting seeds, gardening uses all of the major muscle groups.” It goes on to say that, “One study even found that gardening could reduce insulin resistance, a condition that could lead to metabolic syndrome or diabetes, both of which significantly increase your risk of heart disease.”
Eating fresh fruits and vegetables every day is one of the most important things you can do for your health. Research continues to show that there are many essential nutrients in fresh fruits and vegetables that may protect you from cancer, high blood pressure, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Eating a diet with lots of fresh produce also gives you more energy, helps reduce weight gain, and may even reduce the effects of aging. When you grow your own fruits and vegetables, you can be sure they are free of pesticides and other chemicals. You get better tasting food that is high in important nutrients. Garden greens are especially high in calcium and magnesium. Magnesium is important because it’s what helps the bones absorb or assimilate calcium. important because it’s what helps the bones absorb or assimilate calcium. Gardening promotes healthy eating with kids and adults because there is usually an abundance of fresh produce available for snacking. It is also exciting to eat something you grew yourself and use fresh produce in new recipes. While a home garden provides fresh fruits and vegetables, it also saves money. The value of the produce you grow yourself is around 20 times the value of the material costs.
Finally, spending time in nature reduces stress. Horticulture Therapy is a new area of study that has even found that just viewing nature can have stress-reducing benefits. Gardens can be planted with stress reduction in mind, using soothing colors and scents. Studies have also found that working in the garden helps people who are sick recover more quickly. A garden can be an escape from the pressures of a job or other responsibilities. For many people, a garden is their own little piece of nature. This kind of sanctuary can help lower blood pressure, reducing the risk of heart disease.