Why Gardening Is Great for Mind, Body and Soul
Gardening is a pastime that has experienced somewhat of a revival in recent years. Much like baking, it is a traditional hobby that has become cool once more. With research from College Values Online suggesting that agriculture is still one of the biggest industries within the US, there is a constant stream of 16-18 year olds opting to study gardening related courses such as horticulture, agriculture and floristry in higher education. But aside from being a popular pastime and a lucrative career option, gardening can also have a number of benefits for mental and physical health too. So, whether you garden from a window box, allotment or community garden, here are just a few ways that your green fingers could benefit your mind, body and soul.
Studies indicate that gardening can be great for mental health for a number of reasons. The exercise associated with gardening increases the heart rate which, in turn, gets feel good brain chemicals pumping through the body. For this reason, exercise is considered a natural mood enhancer and is even recommended for sufferers of depression as a study from Mayo Clinic indicates that it can substantially alleviate symptoms. As humans, we thrive from interaction and gardening can be a very social activity due to the popularity of allotments and community garden schemes. Bonding together through shared interests and activities which result in an end goal allows us to feel as if we belong to a friendship group which is positive for self-esteem.
There is something about being at one with nature that has a calming effect on people – so much so that gardening therapy is used in care homes and a number of rehabilitation centers. The gentle and repetitive act of gardening encourages gardeners to relax and get in tune with their spiritual side in a pleasant and natural environment. Research from health experts Mercola also suggest that simply having direct contact with the earth allows our bodies to absorb natural electrolytes in the soil through a process known as ‘grounding’. This is another way to naturally promote inner calm.
As mentioned, gardening can be strenuous. Bending to weed or prune plants can be a good stretching activity while pushing wheelbarrows and mowing grass can act as a cardio based exercise. These types of exercises can be carried out by most people regardless of their age or ability level. Those who choose to grow their own vegetables will also reap the physical health benefits of fresh, organic produce and healthier eating habits. A report in The Telegraph indicates that children who grow their own produce are more likely to eat healthily as they grow and show an interest in healthy foods in later life.
Thank you again to Jess Walter for providing the content for this post.