Gardening isn’t just a way to improve your surroundings with a few pretty flowers and plants, here and there; it also has many health-boosting benefits, too. Before we embark on those, it is worth mentioning that first and foremost – to maximize these health benefits – you should also be cautious with the gardening products you use.
It is worth doing some research into the best products available so that you can make sure your outdoor space is as healthy as possible. For example, when considering pesticides look for the most organic options available as there have been some round up cancer claims regarding the ingredient glyphosate causing DNA damage linking to types of cancer.
You should also be mindful about which plants you choose, as some can be harmful or even poisonous. For example, foxgloves and laburnum are two types of plants that are known to have a high toxicity. Therefore, it is important to always wear gloves.
However, now that we have a bit of safety guidance out of the way, here are the various ways that enjoying a spot of gardening can help to improve your overall health:
1More fresh air
It’s obvious enough – but if you are weeding, planting, and carrying out various tasks in the garden, you will be getting more fresh air. Getting out and moving around more gets rid of any stale indoor air from your lungs and sunlight can improve vitamin D levels, which helps prevent disease and has even been shown to increase healing.
2A form of self-care
Gardening is well known for its therapeutic properties. Planting seeds and watching them grow over time, enjoying the sensory experience of its tactile aspects of touching, feeling, observing colors, and digging in the dirt – it all slows our minds down and enables us to focus. It is also highly rewarding when we see all of our hard work rewarded by our flourishing garden.
Without even realizing it, gardening tasks enable you to carry out a range of exercises including squats and lifting which means that you are burning calories (up to as much as a small meal in some cases!) and toning muscle as a result. Therefore, it is a great activity for fitness and weight loss as well as general health, too.
4Can prevent memory loss
Another surprising advantage of gardening is that it can help to prevent memory loss due to its ability to promote the growth of neurons and synaptic connections – also known as BDNF.
The elderly can benefit hugely from some gardening activities as it is a form of light exercise that has been linked to helping support memory functions in the brain along with cognitive ability.
5Supports mental health
There have been plenty of studies carried out to assess the effects of gardening and getting outdoors on mental health. Despite their wide-ranging focus areas, they all prove in some capacity that daily contact with nature helps the recovery of those suffering from depression or anxiety and can also reduce symptoms of stress. It is widely known as ‘horticultural therapy’.