Plant a Garden, Get Healthy

Plant a Garden, Get Healthy

Plant a Garden, Get Healthy

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People plant gardens for many reasons.  Some start a garden to supplement their food source.  Others plant gardens to enhance the beauty of their yards and homes.  Some even plant a garden as a tribute to someone special that has passed away.  If you are thinking about creating a garden, it may serve a purpose you had not thought about.  Research has been conducted over the course of many years and has consistently pointed to the health benefits of gardening.  

Starting your own garden can reward you with better health and well-being.  Planting your own edibles is an obvious dietary health benefit.  Eating fresh fruits, veggies, and leafy greens from your own garden is an easy way to replace junk food in your diet and boost your body’s overall health.  You can also make friends with neighbors by sharing an abundant harvest with them.

Gardening itself is good exercise.  Preparing the ground for planting, sowing seeds, and maintaining the garden daily can be a great way to get your body moving.  The exercise, sunshine, and fresh air can help reduce chances of health problems such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure.  The garden dirt can even boost your immunity by exposing you to germs and organisms you wouldn’t normally get exposed to.

Working with tools in your garden can also increase strength and dexterity, which we tend to lose as we get older.  The varied movements can keep your body in shape and agile.  Gardening is sometimes recommended as a physical therapy activity for stroke patients or others who could use a productive and gratifying means of rehabilitation.  

Since gardening involves the use of many motor skills, along with mental problem solving, it can reduce risk for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.  In those already showing signs of these diseases, gardening can offer a calming and purposeful activity for them to participate in.  

A garden can also have a very therapeutic effect on you.  Spending time planning, planting what you like, and watching it grow will be a very rewarding process.  Seeing particular plants sprout and grow in a relatively short amount of time is a bit magical and can spark a sense of wonder and happiness.  This sense of accomplishment can stave off anxiety and depression.  

Spending time working in your garden is not only satisfying, it can help you sleep better.  Getting good rest is a key factor in keeping your immune system strong and staying healthy. 

Make your garden your sanctuary, even if it’s only a small corner of an urban patio.  Don’t forget to make a cozy spot to sit when you are done working in your garden or watering your plants.  It will make a great place to read a book or sit outside after a stressful day of work.  There, you can enjoy the calm, tranquil, piece of nature that you created with your own two hands, and the worries of the world can melt away.

Photo via Pixabay by JesusLeal