Written by Guest Blogger Maria Cannon
You may already know that gardening is amazing exercise for the body, but you might not be aware of all the other benefits that working in the dirt can bring. Gardening has been shown to improve brain health, boost mood and memory, and help with depression and addiction in those who are in recovery. Working outdoors with plants, veggies, and fruit can be extremely stimulating for the entire body and can provide a sort of calming therapy to those who have issues with anxiety or stress, which can cause physical ailments such as headaches and even heart attacks.
Studies have shown that working in a garden can lead to significant improvements in many mental ailments, including memory function, and many experts believe that gardening can decrease the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by up to 50%. With all these benefits, it’s no wonder more and more people are starting gardens of their own.
Even if you don’t own a home or don’t have a large lawn to work with, you might be able to find a community garden or simply use a small trellis that will allow you to grow vine plants. Tending to your own little space, growing new things, and reaping the rewards when you can harvest them are all wonderful ways to decrease stress and find a way to relax. Here are a few more ways gardening can help you feel better.
It allows you to exercise.
For seniors or disabled individuals who have limited mobility, it can be difficult to find ways to exercise every day. Gardening allows everyone to work at their own pace and use several muscle groups, because it often involves bending, hauling dirt, kneeling, and using upper body strength. Light gardening--such as weeding or watering--is an option for those who don’t want to overdo it.
It provides therapy.
Working with plants in a garden has a calming effect. There is no time limit, there aren’t many rules, and you can be as creative as you want with the design of your landscape. Gardening is often called “horticulture therapy” because it allows a person to break away from the stresses of life, or from coping with recovery or PTSD, and focus on a positive, relaxed goal.
Work in the sun.
Working in the sun has many positive effects, the greatest of which is that it provides you with vitamin D, which can help treat high blood pressure, depression, and fatigue, among other things. It can also give your mood a boost and keep you feeling happy.
Studies have shown that people who grow their own fruits and veggies tend to eat healthier, so plant things you like to eat and bring them from your garden straight to the table. Eating a better diet can not only help you stay healthy physically, it can also improve your brain function and keep you feeling better altogether.
It can help you sleep.
Working hard in the dirt and getting out in the fresh air for a little while every day can help tire you out and relax you, which makes for a better night’s sleep. If you’re a troubled sleeper, consider doing some light gardening a few times a week to see if it makes a difference in your rest.
It can boost your self-esteem.
Working on something just for yourself--something that gives tangible results--can be a huge boost to your self-esteem and can help you learn how to think more positively. Not only that, it’s great for the environment, so you’ll have the knowledge that you’re doing something good for the planet.
Gardening is great in so many ways, and the beauty of it is, you can tailor it to fit your needs and space. If you have the time, try to work in some garden time a few times a week and plant your favorite things, which can help you be even happier in the long run.
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