There’s no denying that gardens are great for us! From the proven mental health benefits to the many calories burned while getting our hands dirty, growing flowers or fruits and vegetables does both the mind and body some serious good.
Many studies have found that gardening is good for our self-esteem and well-being, reducing the stress hormone cortisol. I believe it! Life is hectic, and I love the serenity of putzing through my gardens with a cup of coffee in the morning before the kids wake up.
Doctors from around the world believe in the power of gardening too. In the UK, a social prescribing movement has patients suffering from anxiety and depression grabbing a set of garden tools over a bottle of pills. Gardening helps create connections and provides a general sense of fulfillment and enjoyment.
Leaner & Stronger
Beyond the obvious benefits to our minds and souls, gardening is a great way to add exercise into our daily routines.
Being active every day is essential; exercising not only helps with weight control but is also needed for heart and lung health, among other things.
When you think about it, the act of gardening is no different than a full-body workout routine.
It involves walking, squatting, lunging, digging, raking, and some heavy lifting as well. Your arms, shoulders, back, butt, and legs all get some attention. For a bonus, keep your core tight while working out in the garden. You’ll feel stronger afterward, but it will also protect your back from injury.
I wear a Fitbit to track my daily activities; it is astounding just how much extra physical exercise I get every day in the gardens.
For example, in the spring, when I was preparing my gardens (raking, adding compost, and planting), I walked a total of 17,000 steps around my property and burned 850 calories in just a few hours.
When I’m watering my gardens, I choose to use my rain barrel over the hose. Armed with a 10L watering can, I walk back and forth from the barrel to my veggie patch for a total of 1200 steps in 35 minutes. Total calories burned: 130; and that’s just watering!
If you don’t have a big property or certain injuries or conditions prevent you from strenuous activities, consider taking a leisurely walk through a public garden or park. Outdoor yoga classes are also gaining in popularity!
Any physical activity is good, and when it happens out in nature, it’s even better.