Gardening is an incredibly popular activity with a broad range of benefits to your physical and emotional health.
You do not need a huge garden or years of experience to enjoy gardening, as this is something you can do on a smaller scale using containers on a balcony or windowsill if you do not have access to an outside space or want to keep your project on a small scale.
If you are new to gardening, start off with the basic tools you will need and gradually build on them as you go. This does not need to be an expensive hobby, start small and see how you get on. Second hand tools are a great way of saving money at the beginning.
There are companies such as Evergreen Hedging offering advice and products online or you could head down to your local garden centre and have a wander around to get some inspiration.
If you are not already reaping the rewards of this fabulous pastime, perhaps the following 9 health benefits will inspire you to get your hands in the earth and start growing!
Whilst looking after your garden your body will benefit from low impact aerobic and cardio exercise as you rake, weed, dig and water your garden.
Your focus will be on what you are doing, so all that stretching, squatting and bending will be strengthening your body and your muscles without you even noticing. Just a little regular gardening gives you great rewards in terms of what you are growing and can help to keep you in good shape at the same time.
2. BOOST YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM
Trace levels of pathogens found in the in the earth will give your immune system a good workout as you are busy in the garden and ultimately give it a significant boost. A boosted immune system is better equipped at helping your body to fight illnesses and infections so that you maintain a good level of health.
When you opt to grow your own produce at home, you get to enjoy some of the freshest and most delicious food you have ever eaten. Those who produce their own food tend to be more conscious of what they eat and generally stick to a more nutritious diet. From your garden to your plate is so much better for you than buying in food from supermarkets.
You can grow a surprising quantity of produce in a small space, using containers, hydroponic systems, and a variety of vertical growing systems. Even if you only grow a small proportion of your weekly food that is better than nothing!
4. SOCIAL REWARD / BONDING TIME
There are a broad range of social avenues for those interested in gardening. Any kind of social interaction, whether making new friends, or simply spending quality time in the garden with family and loved ones is beneficial to your and their emotional health.
Community gardening, allotments and local gardening clubs are just a few options for making new connections through a mutual hobby.
It is a well-known fact that those who have suffered any form of illness will heal and get well far more rapidly when they are regularly exposed to fresh air and sunshine.
Time outside in the garden, de-heading flowers or doing some other low impact gardening can be an effective way to recover and get yourself back to good health.
6. SUNSHINE AND VITAMINS
Whilst gardening outside your body will be absorbing vitamin D from the sun. This vitamin is essential for maintaining healthy bones, nerves and muscles. Those who do not get outside regularly enough can suffer the effects of a vitamin D deficiency. This is commonly seen in elderly people and those with reduced mobility who find it difficult to get outside on a regular basis.
Keep in mind that in hot weather it is essential to protect yourself from high UV rays with sunscreen and appropriate clothing. A good wide brimmed hat is a must.
7. STRESS RELIEF
Spending time in a natural environment carrying out calm, sensory activities is an excellent way to reduce your stress levels. Connecting with nature and taking in all of the wonderful smells and sounds around them is an effective way to combat and deal with negative feelings and stress.
8. NATURAL ANTI DEPRESSANT
Gardening is a calm activity which ultimately has a positive impact on your mental health. Your garden and plants can be a great motivator to get you outside and distract you from the everyday pressures that can lead to feelings of depression. Many people find that by focusing their emotional energy on tending to their plants, they improve their symptoms of depression naturally.
With such a large percentage of the population suffering from depression at some time during their life, a growing number of doctors are now recommending gardening to their patients as an alternative to either reduce or eliminate the need for medication.
9. LOSE WEIGHT
Whilst digging holes, planting and weeding you will be burning calories. Providing you are burning more calories than you are consuming, you can lose weight whilst gardening. For those who do not enjoy the prospect of visiting the gym this can be a rewarding way to lose weight as not only will you look slimmer, your garden will look more attractive after your workout too!
WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?
Don’t just take my word for it! Gardening is a rewarding pastime that has many benefits on top of the many great benefits to your health and for this reason is enjoyed by people the world over. Get your hands in some soil and experience the benefits for yourself.