Many of us love investing time in our gardens. We ostensibly do this because it leads to beautiful spaces that we can enjoy with our family and friends, but for many of us, gardening also has an intrinsic appeal. We take pleasure in the process: the decision making and planning, the buying, planting and nurturing of plants.
One reason why we might find this activity so satisfying is that it’s actually good for our bodies and minds. In recent years, research has pointed out more and more health benefits we can enjoy when getting green fingered. So while you may not need any further encouragement to spend time in the garden, here are some happy facts about the benefits of doing so.
First things first, one of the best things about gardening is the excuse to be outside. Come rain or shine, when there’s something to do in the garden we have to get out there – and everyone knows how great it feels to drink in the breeze and enjoy our little corner of nature. The health benefits of fresh air have been widely documented. In your plant-heavy garden, that air is likely to be better oxygenated than elsewhere, leaving you feeling invigorated and energised too.
Moving and muscles
Gardening can be a strenuous activity – all that weed pulling and bed digging – and without realising it, you can actually burn a lot of calories. It’s one of many great home-based exercises, like having home-weights or a treadmill, that make it easy to get active any time of day.
As a fitness activity, gardening is slow but steady, so it’s often praised as a great activity for those of us who are a little older and less mobile. If this is the case for you, and you want to know how much gardening and other exercise you should do, always speak to a health professional. They can advise on a range of health matters, like your BMI, how to lower cholesterol or maintain healthy blood sugar levels, and how hard you can push yourself in the garden. Keeping active and eating lots of home-grown veg could well be one answer to the perennial question of how to lower your cholesterol, so get outside and enjoy it.
Being outside also has the benefit of giving us some much-needed sunshine. Spending time out in the sun helps our body produce Vitamin D, which helps with the absorption of calcium and regulation of our moods. Gardening is a great way to catch some rays, but do be careful on this front: experts suggest we need only 10-15 minutes worth of direct sunlight per day to produce sufficient Vitamin D. Be sure to protect yourself with high-factor sun cream, and stay out of the midday rays.
There’s something inherently calming about being in the natural environment, and recent studies have backed up this intuitive sense with some solid research. Literally smelling the roses (and indeed jasmine and lavender) can make us feel soothed. It’s no wonder then that many people report the mood boosting benefits of gardening. A bit of time working away at your plants and veg patch can help us work through no end of emotional ups and downs.
Convinced? You didn’t need to be. We all know gardening makes us feel great. It’s just good to know that the experts agree. Whether you’re wondering how to lower cholesterol, or just hoping to feel a bit happier day-to-day, keeping active with an activity you enjoy can be a good starting point. So get out there and enjoy the natural benefits of being a green-fingered gardener!