Health Tip: Benefits of Gardening

HealthTip

Benefits of Gardening

Looking for a fulfilling activity that will not only improve your mood but reduce your waistline and fatten your wallet?  Look no further than gardening.  Keeping in shape and having a sound mind becomes increasingly important as we age.  Gardening provides health benefits for older adults that can keep the mind sharp and the body healthy.

Gardening is an easy way to remain active throughout life.  Planting, watering and tending to a garden is a great way to add activity to your daily routine and reduce the risks brought on by natural aging.  The truth is, as we age our likelihood of remaining active decreases and fatigue sets in.  With daily exercise and a healthy diet, older adults can avoid losing energy and keep a sharp mind.  Gardening provides many of these advantages and is an easy and enjoyable way to do so.  Whether you decide that the front lawn could use a little color, or you want to see the cooking process from cultivation to the dinner table, gardening leaves the gardener with a feeling of accomplishment and potentially a full belly. 

Keep in mind that you don’t have to know how to garden to participate.  There are many resources out there that take beginners step by step from planting to cultivation.  Most seed packages even have instructions on the back for planting!

There are numerous benefits for starting your own garden.  Some of the mental and physical benefits include:

  • The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of moderate exercise weekly, such as gardening, to reduce the risk of cardiovascular issues.
  • An activity such as gardening helps promote flexibility, endurance and strength and has been used to help improve range of motion and coordination.
  • Not only is gardening a great physical exercise, but it’s a great mental workout, as well.  It takes resourcefulness and imagination to tend to a garden.
  • Gardeners experience feelings of accomplishment and creativity by producing something that they helped nurture for an extended period of time.
  • Gardening allows time for meditation, personal reflection and daydreaming that can help reduce stress and anxiety.
  • When gardening crops, keep in mind that eating organic produce is just plain good for you.  Fresh produce is not only high in vitamins and minerals but is also low in calories. 
  • Certain nutrients found in fresh organically produced foods can aid in disease prevention.
  • Benefits of being engaged in nature include better mood, sounder sleep, reduced risk of obesity and increased self-esteem through increased activity and decreased stress.
  • Aside from the health and wellness benefits of gardening, this activity will also increase the money in your pocket.  Growing foods such as vine veggies, herbs and lettuce is actually cheaper than buying these products at the market. 
  • Gardening is also a great activity to bring the family closer.  Try teaching a child or grandchild how to plant and water seeds in your garden.  Time spent with family can be the best benefit of all.
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