Gardening outdoors can be great for your mind and body alike. Humans weren’t created to stay cooped up in an office all day. We were made to be outside and get our hands dirty. Gardening is not only a great way to beautify your home and grow your own fruits and vegetables, but it can be a great way to support a healthy lifestyle. Here are the top five ways that outdoor gardening can benefit your health.
1. It Relieves Stress
There is something primal about putting your hands in the dirt, especially after a long day in the office. A Dutch study found that gardening can alleviate stress and improve your mood. When compared to reading, this study found that gardening can actually do more to help you relax.
2. You Get Your Dose of Vitamin D
Gardening outside gets you out in the sunlight a dose of Vitamin D with it. Vitamin D supports calcium absorption and your immune system. Deficiencies in Vitamin D can lead to fatigue, depression, muscle pain, and even hair loss. All you need is 10-30 minutes in the sun to get your daily dose of this critical vitamin, which can easily be taken care of in your garden.
3. It Can Strengthen Your Muscles
You can bend over all day as you plant geraniums. That method is easy, but you may hurt your lower back, trigger your sciatica, or pull a muscle in the process. Instead, try to thoughtfully lower your legs from the quads and glutes down, and instead use your gardening time as core-strengthening time. All the squatting, leaning, digging, and carrying is a great way to mindfully grow strength in your stability muscles. Strong stability muscles allow you to have better balance, carry heavier objects, and protect your back from injury.
4. It Brings Your Focus to the Present
Adults can have a hard time living in the moment. From stressing about bills to regretting the past, it can be hard to quiet the mind and just be. Gardening can be a meditative exercise that forces your mind to focus on what’s at hand, be that the watering can that needs filling or the holes that need digging. That mindfulness can have a positive impact on your mental health and allow you the space to reflect upon your life in a productive way.
5. It’s Rewarding
Something that takes time and dedication is rewarding to (no pun intended) watch grow. Gardening requires equal parts of planning, perspiration, and patience. Watching your buds blossom, and bringing your harvest to the table can bring you a sense of pride and satisfaction.