by Ken Lain, the Mountain Gardener.
Nature has long been known for its relaxing qualities, as a place for humans to find tranquility, healing and rest. Mental clarity and the feeling of reward are all associated with gardening, with the many physical benefits that follow. Fruit tree, herb and vegetable gardening are particularly gratifying and an excellent source of super fresh food right out of the garden. From soil preparation to the joy of harvesting there is always a task during the growing season!
If you’ve ever spent a season in the garden, you know these tasks can serve as great exercise. But just how beneficial to your health is this age-old agricultural tradition?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), moderate-intensity activities for 2.5 hours each week can reduce the risk for obesity, high blood pressure, Type 2 Diabetes, osteoporosis, heart disease, stroke, depression, colon cancer, even premature death. The CDC considers gardening one of its moderate-intensity activities and achieves that 2.5-hour goal each week.
They have shown that those who choose gardening as their moderate exercise are more likely to exercise 40-50 minutes longer on average than those that like walking or biking. By venturing outdoors to your garden spaces, you not only assist in keeping the community beautiful and vibrant but become healthier in the process.
Another example of the health benefits of gardens found, “a 10 percent increase in nearby green space was found to decrease a person’s health complaints in an amount equivalent to a five-year reduction in that person’s age” according to the Gardening Matters nonprofit of Minneapolis.
Exercising both the arms and legs is recommended to help prevent illnesses like coronary disease. With most everyday activities only involving arms, gardening is a great way to incorporate the entire body while exercising.
There’s nothing like fresh air
According to the journal Biological Psychiatry, experts found fresh air helps prevent Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and results in higher test scores among students. Who doesn’t like fresh air?
Gardening has emerged recently as a scientifically proven stress reliever. Stress causes irritability, headaches, stomach aches, heart attacks, and worsens pre-existing conditions in the body. An experiment published in the Journal of Health Psychology compared gardening to the stress relief activity of someone reading. Subjects that gardened experienced a more significant decrease in stress when compared to the subjects that were assigned to read.
In addition to health benefits, good landscapes have measured marked increases in your home’s property value, while saving money at the grocery store. With the mountain of evidence, it’s no wonder more locals are taking to the garden to unplug, unwind, relax, all while improving your mental and physical health. May you be as happy as your gardens.
Visit us at Watters Garden Center for your dose of garden therapy.