Photo via Pixabay.com

Guest post by Maria Cannon

At the top of the list of healthy hobbies is the quaint, peaceful pastime of gardening. According to one source, gardening actually ranks just second in the list of hobbies that could positively impact your quality of life. Aside from eating the natural produce that grows in your own garden, there are a number of health benefits to gardening. So the next time you pull on your gloves and fill up your watering can, keep all of these health benefits in mind.

1. Physical Exercise

Every time you stretch or strain your muscles in physical activity, you are strengthening them. That’s why gardening counts as such a great form of exercise. You have to stretch your muscles when you trim tall tree limbs, bend down to pull weeds, and work your entire upper body when you are tilling the soil. Just by handling general gardening tasks, you could burn a substantial amount of calories each hour, depending on how much you weigh.

2. Stress Relief

Sometimes, it’s nice to be around living things that are not demanding anything from you but your time. Sure, plants require nurturing, watering, and pruning, but gardening provides a form of accomplishment that isn’t full of stress by the end of the day. While working in the garden, your muscles can relax and stretch, while your mind can simply be focused on the task at hand. Since exercise releases endorphins in the brain, you maintain a positive mindset during activities like gardening.

3. Treatment for Depression

For many who struggle with depression, gardening might be an ideal treatment plan. When you are growing another living thing, nurturing it, watering it, and watching it thrive, you feel a sense of purpose and accomplishment. Some studies have also proven that when your hands are in contact with soil, it can cause a release of serotonin in the brain. This chemical can not only boost the immune system, but it is a natural antidepressant that can cause you to feel happier.

Gardening doesn’t have to be a solitary activity. You may find that gardening with others can help you overcome depression and relieve anxiety. A great way to meet people is by volunteering. There are gardening volunteer programmes available, and such opportunities may also exist at your local botanical of historic garden; for example through the National Trust.

4. Personal Quiet Time

We all occasionally need time to relax and regroup with some personal, quiet time. By setting aside time to garden, we are committing to putting down our phones and stepping out of the digital world to enjoy nature. Laying down the to-do list and picking up the spade can be the best way to give yourself some much-needed peace and tranquility.

5. Physical Wellness

The positive effects of sunlight and fresh air might surprise you. The vitamin D your body produces when you are soaking in the sun, helps to strengthen your teeth and your bones. Having enough vitamin D can also help prevent certain diseases, such as cancer or multiple sclerosis.

6. Monitor What You’re Eating

Clearly, one of the biggest advantages to gardening is the produce you grow. Homegrown fruits and vegetables are the best kind of produce for you because you get to be in control of exactly what you are putting in your body. You can maintain your garden with natural methods and avoid the chemicals that are often found on supermarket produce. Also, with a garden right in your backyard, you can have healthy snack options readily available so that you aren’t tempted to grab junk food or chocolate the next time you are hungry.

Now that gardening is at the top of your healthy hobby list, head outdoors for some rest and relaxation. Get in your physical exercise and quiet time, all while filling your pantry with healthy food you’ve successfully grown. Relax and enjoy your garden as well as your health.

Thanks to Maria for sharing this with us on Old School Garden!

Further information: www.hobbyjr.org

 

 

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