With National Gardening week this week it seemed a good time to dig up a bit of research, pull out a few facts and plant a few ideas on how gardening can help your health to blossom!
Here are 5 ways that gardening can do us good.
1. Vit D boost
Many of us are lacking in vitamin D over the winter months as we need sunlight to produce it. So much so that the government recommends supplements in winter. So, as the sun starts to show, it’s worth getting outdoors to boost our vitamin D more naturally…taking care, of course, to avoid sun damage.
Why pay for an expensive gym membership that you will never use when you can increase muscle and give heart and lungs a workout with some vigorous gardening? Digging, squatting, lifting and more can help retain muscle that we lose at a rate of 8% per decade after 40. And giving heart and lungs a workout protects us from heart disease, stroke and other diseases…as well as keeping us feeling fit and healthy now.
3. Weight control
Forget dieting – 85% of people who try to control their weight through fad diets alone will fail. Instead, gardening offers a great distraction from grazing on junk food and burns off calories to boot. Half an hour of shovelling, mowing or raking can burn off up to 250 calories.
4. Up your 5-a day
People who eat 5 portions of fruit and veg a day have a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and various forms of cancer. As a result they tend to live longer too.
Growing your own may encourage you to hit your target….as well as allowing you to grow organically to ensure your produce is free of pesticides and more.
But don’t worry if you don’t have a garden. You can grow herbs on the windowsill, tomatoes in a hanging basket and carrots, potatoes and more in a pot. No excuses!
5. Let nature nuture your mind
There’s a sense of achievement in producing your own veg or creating a flower-filled garden. There is a brain boost from fresh air and an opportunity to de-stress. And tending an allotment or discussing with friends how to manage that pesky greenfly gives you an opportunity to socialise with other like-minded people. And some people even take the opportunity to do volunteer work outdoors – helping elderly neighbours with lawn-mowing, for example. All of which are good for our mental health too.
So, take advantages of the multitude of health benefits that gardening can bring and see how your fitness, your health and your wellbeing grow!