The glow of happiness that beamed on your face when, as a child you saw a green shoot peeping out of the potted plant you had planted and watered with utmost care, remains unforgettable. And even as you turn into an adult the feeling on seeing your garden blooming up with all its beauty and bounty does not wane away in its intensity. While gardening helps you come in close communion with Mother Nature and your primal self, it endows your body with a whole lot of physical and mental health benefits too. Here are 6 ways how gardening can help you lead a happy and healthy life.
If you cannot find time out to hit the gym, just spend some time working in your own garden. According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, gardening has been referred to being “moderate cardiovascular exercises”, with 45 minutes spent working in the garden proved to burn calories equal to a 30 minute aerobic session. You do not need to undergo gruelling wood-chopping to shed those extra calories, you can burn around 243 calories by simply mowing your garden lawn for 30 minutes with a push mower. Carry a gallon of water in each hand to water your plants and you would be doing a task at the same level as lifting dumbbells of 8 pounds.
Mother Nature has immense potential to alleviate stress and soothe your senses with the release of endorphins in the body. A recent study conducted by the University of Essex depicted an instant boosting of the mood and attenuated stress levels obtained by spending as little as 5 minutes in the garden. In fact, according to the results of another research in Netherlands done with two groups of people, 30 minutes of gardening activity outperformed 30 minutes of reading in relieving stress, making the gardening participants more jubilant with lower cortisol or stress hormone levels than the reading group.
Physical Health Benefits
Gardening bestows an array of health benefits too. Being a blend of isotonic, isometric and aerobic exercises the act of gardening augments your strength and flexibility thereby improving your cardiovascular, respiratory as well as immune systems. Activities like weeding, digging and planting are great ways to get your body tuned up with some low-impact exercises. Indulging in regular gardening helps keep diseases like diabetes, obesity, high-blood pressure, and osteoporosis and heart disorders at bay. Exposure to a certain non-toxic soil-borne bacteria and known as Mycobacterium vacate was found to boost the immune system -a discovery made by Christopher Lowry, a neuroscientist of the University of Colorado.
Mental Health Benefits
If you are depressed and everything in the world around you seems to be in doldrums, try gardening. While a study in Norway showed the effects of gardening to be boosting mental strength and fishing out participants suffering from bouts of depression with a mere 6 hours of gardening a week, the wonder soil-bacteria Mycobacterium vaccae proved its clout once again in this niche, acting as an anti-depressant by releasing serotonin that alleviates depressive states.
Planting the Right Plants
The power of Mother Nature to heal goes indubitable and to ensure that you optimize on this aspect, spruce up your garden with the right plants. There is no dearth of plants and herbs that will work wonders to accentuate the look of your garden while bestowing you with their health benefits. For instance, the magnesium and calcium rich Chamomile brings solace to your mind and body, while alleviating headaches, haemorrhoid, sore throats, ulcers and wounds when taken with tea. Bedeck your garden with beautiful lavender herbs for its anti-depressant quality, Cone flowers or Echinacea to boost immunity, Licorice for keeping your endocrine system healthy, Stinging Herb to cope up with a whole cauldron of disorders and infections and sow an Elder Tree to benefit from almost all its parts.
Finally, what can be more nutritious and healthier than the fresh-from-the-vine flavoured vegetables and fruits grown and nurtured by you in your own garden? So while you remember to go for your EHIC renewal, spare some dollars to get some fertilizers and organic soil for enjoying nutrient-rich foods and a healthy ambience.