Gardening for Your Health & Happiness
by Jerry Hilburn on Apr 01, 2021
Now that the end of Covid-19 is in sight, it’s obvious that the resurgence of gardening is here to stay. If you’re still not on the bandwagon or need to justify the endless hours you’re spending digging up weeds and shooing away aphids, then it will help to know that gardening has many benefits to both your mental and physical health. Gardening is one of the most well-rounded and invigorating hobbies, and there are many great reasons why.
Knowing where your food comes from
Gardeners of every level know that food tastes better when you grow it yourself. It’s nearly impossible to harvest cherry tomatoes without popping one (or five) into your mouth, and don't even get me started on strawberries. That means you're more likely to eat your recommended dose of fruits and veggies, and enjoy all the beneficial vitamins they have to offer.
TIP: Read our blog post on tomato gardening in containers for perfect tomatoes all summer long
Not only is home grown produce delicious, it's better for you. When you buy from a grocery store, you can't be sure what chemicals or treatments went into growing those crops. When you grow at home, you can be positive that nothing harmful is on the menu. Additionally, the nutrient value of a fruit or vegetable that is allowed to mature on the vine is much higher than those picked prematurely like commercial produce. If you have an abundance of fresh food that you can’t finish, consider canning or freezing your spoils for garden grown goodies all year long. Or consider donating to food banks that accept fresh produce, like Feeding America.
Lowering your stress levels
Have you ever been in a terrible mood, and after a few minutes outside you feel ten times better? There's something about fresh air and sun that does wonders for one's stress levels. Combine that with working with your hands and beautifying your space and you have a miracle drug for stress relief. That may sound a little cheesy, but studies show that 30 minutes in the garden can boost your mood for the rest of the day and relieve stress. So next time you’re feeling anxious, take that energy out on your weeds instead of yourself!
Basking in the sun
Not only is the sun good for your mood, but it also provides your body with the Vitamin D it needs to absorb calcium. On top of that, research shows vitamin D may protect against illnesses such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, depression, and even cancer. We normally hear about the dangers of sun exposure, but a moderate amount (like the time it takes you to weed and rake) is actually beneficial. Keep in mind that you want to cover your more sensitive skin and wear sunscreen to protect from skin cancer.
Keeping the doctor away
Lifting weights, weeding, biking, raking, tilling, planting - what do they have in common? They all burn calories and work up a sweat. Doctors recommend that we get at least two and a half hours of physical activity per week. Your average gardener spends at least a half hour in their garden each day, which easily exceeds the doctor recommended time. Gardening is also a great option for those who need low impact options for exercising, and it's much cheaper than a gym membership! Just make sure that you're listening to your body and not overdoing it. Gardening injuries can sneak up on us because we're enjoying being outside so much! Consider something like our garden kneeler and seat to minimize back and knee strain.
Making your indoor areas healthier
Don’t have room outside to garden? Don’t fret. You can still enjoy the benefits of outdoor gardening from the comfort of your home. The Spruce has an article dedicated to Easy Vegetables to Grow Indoors, which include carrots, peppers, and even tomatoes. If you’d like something a little more low maintenance, house plants such as Boston ferns, Ficus trees, and spider plants all help improve the air quality by reducing airborne volatile organic compounds. In reality, whatever plants you choose to grow will boost your serotonin and liven up your space.
If you weren’t a gardener before reading, we hope we convinced you to pick it up. And if you’re an expert, we hope we gave you some excuses to spend even more time out there doing what you love. Happy gardening!