Plant a garden and plant the seeds of your own health and wellness.
Gardening is great for your health, delivering three surprising health and well-being benefits. Read on for resources and information to help you start your own garden.
Stress is a common part of life, but gardening can help reduce stress and improve your ability to deal with daily pressures.
One Dutch study had two groups complete a stressful task. When they were done, one group gardened for 30 minutes and the other group read indoors. The results were surprising. The group that gardened reported better moods, and the reading group had a more difficult time recovering from the stressful experience.
The gardening group also had measurably lower levels of cortisol, known as the “stress hormone.” In addition to feeling less stress and anxiety, lower cortisol levels can help with everything from memory to blood pressure to weight.
Tending a garden requires moving around, bending, digging, and other physical activity. Depending on the type of gardening you’re doing, you may also be getting some strength building and cardiovascular benefits.
The health effects of gardening are particularly promising for older adults and people with reduced mobility. It’s a great way to practice hand dexterity and other movements. Planning and tending a garden can also be a great exercise for the mind, as you learn and practice a new skill.
According to a study done in Stockholm, regularly tending a garden cuts stroke and heart attack risk for those over 60 by up to 30 percent. The gardeners’ stroke and heart attack risks were just as low as those of very active older adults, like people currently training to run marathons.
Choosing what to grow just might be one of the toughest parts of getting started with gardening. You could plant an herb garden, vegetable garden, flower garden, or a combination.
To help you decide, take a look at these beginners’ gardening guides. They’ll give you a good idea of the options and what’s involved with each. Also, employees of your local garden center know what plants work best in your area, so ask questions.
Flower Gardening: How to Start Your Flower Garden