The mental and physical benefits of gardening have long been known by those who spend time outside nurturing and tending their vegetable plants. The opportunity to get your hands dirty and watch plants go from seed to maturity touches many elements in our nature that need nurturing themselves.
Gardening for Physical Health
It can be a struggle to find time to exercise for the sake of exercising. After all, we have chores to do, errands to run, kids to run after, work to attend to, and a whole host of other claims on our time. Gardening, however, is not just physical exertion for the sake of exertion. There is a reward at the end. An excellent reward at that. Fresh vegetables grown with your own sweat and hard work are an amazing motivator.
Gardening requires a wide variety of physical movements which get the blood moving and improve overall health. Most of it is low-impact as well, which makes it an accessible choice for people of all abilities. Digging, planting, and weeding are mostly repetitive tasks but one of the great things about gardening is the variety of work. The activities are rarely tedious which can be an obstacle with other types of exercise.
Additionally, eating all those vegetables you are growing is awesome for your health. Home-grown vegetables are infinitely better in quality and taste than store bought ones. Kids may turn their noses up at broccoli from the store but when it is broccoli they have watched grow from seed to crown, it is suddenly personal and much more interesting. People who grow their own vegetables tend to eat healthier.
Gardening for Mental Health
Studies recently have linked gardening with a lower risk for developing dementia. The main reason being that when a person is in a garden, they are surrounded by sights, smells, and sounds that are relaxing on a deep inner level.
Gardens are known to reduce stress and improve relaxation. The act of creating something, literally from the dirt, tending it, watching it, and reaping its rewards is something we don't often experience in our everyday lives. How often do we get to see every step in a process as well as enjoy the end result?
Watching a seed grow to a mature plant through our own efforts is a great way to boost confidence, improve overall morale, and show accomplishment, which increases self-confidence. Gardening is a fantastic activity for kids and adults of all ages who struggle with depression or self-confidence issues.
Gardening provides a balance in our lives between work and play that we are sorely missing in this modern fast-paced world. Gardens force us to slow down and take our time; they give us an outlet to express ourselves creatively and in return, they reward us with bounties of fresh, healthy foods – something that can also be hard to find in this modern world.
Maintaining a garden gives a person a sense of purpose, a goal to strive towards that has a physical identifiable reward, and a reason to be outside getting much needed fresh air. To learn more about gardening and to get inspired, follow us on Facebook.