For many generations, gardening has provided relaxation, healing and tranquility. It has given people not just mental clarity, but physical benefits, as well.
Gardening is always at the top of “favorite pastime” lists. It is a healthy hobby that connects you to nature, and it offers benefits to beginner gardeners and avid gardeners as well. What exactly does gardening do for us, and how is it so good for us?
Let’s take a look:
1. It increases fitness and physical activity overall. This helps with weight loss and weight maintenance. Gardeners often have a healthy, vigorous zest for their lives.
2. It can increase property value — and it saves money when you do grocery shopping. It is also an easy way to enjoy the outdoors.
3. It helps with rehabilitation and recovery from many types of surgeries. It encourages the strengthening of muscles gradually. Gardening is good for any level of stress relief, and promotes an almost instant calm in our minds. It can keep you limber, loose and create more flexibility.
4. It encourages relaxation and calmness. It especially helps those with illnesses and physical conditions like cancer, asthma, allergies or mental issues. There is actually a new area called horticultural therapy. It has been a great success with veterans by creating productivity, inner peace, a sense of purpose, and restoring many mental functions over time.
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5. It assists with social and community interactions. It brings people together. Gardening improves alertness, social skills and cognitive abilities.
6. It reduces symptoms of aggression, and aggravation due to Alzheimer’s and dementia.
7. It benefits those with substance dependency. They are helped by the manual and social aspects of gardening, which encourages productivity for those participating.
Hospice patients can use gardening to manage their end-of-life choices with peace and with social connections. Many nursing homes, especially those with dementia patients, have gardens. They can walk without getting lost, and they can enjoy the garden’s therapeutic properties.
“Attention fatigue,” caused by cell phones, emails and other electronics which require our attention, is treatable by taking up gardening. The repetitive, soothing gardening motions, combined with the sounds, smells and feel of nature, refreshes our minds. It reverses such fatigue.
Another very interesting part of gardening is what’s in the soil. Working in soil can improve your mood, and in a natural way. Mycobacterium vaccae, often found in soil, are a harmless bacteria that increases the metabolism and release of serotonin. This occurs in the areas of the brain that control mood and cognitive function. Perhaps the lack of gardening and working in the soil, in some way, has upset our immune systems. Illnesses like depression and heart disease all show levels of inflammation. Gardening would re-introduce this natural bacteria which could alleviate some of the problems.
If you are wondering if gardening would help you, why not just pick up a shovel or pull some weeds? It is an activity for all ages.
What would you add to this list? Share your thoughts in the section below: