Gardening and Wellness: The Benefits of Having a Green Thumb
It seems that with each passing generation, we become more and more disconnected from our wonderful planet. Technological advancement makes our lives convenient, but our gadgets can also leave us with a dangerous lack of awareness of our surroundings. Luckily, there are ways to combat this. One convenient way to get back in touch with your roots? Stick your hands in the dirt! Here are four ways gardening can help you live a healthier life.
Gardening is therapeutic.
The science is in, and it’s telling us to muck up those hands! Gardening has been shown to relieve stress, heighten spirits, and even help those suffering from mental afflictions such as post traumatic stress disorder.
You can glean these benefits through a practice called horticultural therapy, a technique with four solid decades of academic backing. Universities the world over accredit qualifying professionals with the title Horticultural Therapist Registered. The University of Florida sums up the healing power of gardening well: “Research confirms that healthful benefits accrue when people connect with plants by viewing, planting, growing, and/or caring for them.”
Tending the earth is quality, low-impact exercise.
You may be surprised to learn how effective a form of exercise gardening is. According to a study of 12,000 middle aged men cited by Texas A&M University, those who garden get similar cardiovascular benefits to those who partake in more strenuous exercise like brisk walking or jogging.
The logic: doing something is better than doing nothing. “You can still get many benefits from an aerobic exercise such as gardening if you pursue it regularly,” the university concludes. “Even the less strenuous forms of garden upkeep – weeding, trimming, raking – can burn off about 300 calories an hour.”
Neighboring species will love you.
How better to celebrate stunning natural beauty than by inviting some local critters to enjoy your plant sanctuary? Gardening, particularly of the low pesticide, organic variety, offers a great opportunity to attract species of birds, butterflies, and other friendly creatures to your home.
But these species are pickier than you might think! To read more about the habitat requirements of various animals, click here. If you play your cards right, neighborhood critters just might fancy your garden to be the most happening hangout around.
You get to eat what you grow!
There simply is nothing like homegrown produce. Not only will your sweat make the fruits of your labor taste all the sweeter, produce is, by and large, the healthiest category of food you can eat.
Who needs an artery-clogging hamburger when you have tomatoes or peppers ripe for the picking right in your own backyard? Growing is rewarding for a number of intangible reasons, but here’s a tangible one: your rumbling stomach will thank you.
Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only and it is not meant to be relied on as medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Consult your physician before starting any exercise or dietary program or taking any other action respecting your health. In case of a medical emergency, call 911.