By ena ganguly
These past few months, many of us have ventured into or rediscovered gardening. Perhaps because we are spending more time at home, or because we want to grow our own food, even if it’s a few herbs that we use regularly. Gardening is so beneficial for not only our physical health but our mental health as well.
Here are some of the benefits of gardening for those wondering if they should get into this hobby:
For those of us who are working from home, we are most likely to stay inside, rather than go out for a walk or get some air. Gardening is a great way to incentivize ourselves to be outside and receive the sunshine that our bodies often crave to experience. The Active Times states, “Exposure to sunlight has a huge impact on depression, seasonal affective disorder and sleep quality.” Being able to get sunshine when we have been inside all day is a huge mood booster and gives our bodies some much needed vitamin D, a nutrient we need for our calcium balance and immune health!
Perhaps this is an activity best done in the morning time for you or after the end of a long work day, so that your routine and mood receive an added boost by being out in the sun and releasing some feel-good hormones. Even spending around ten to fifteen minutes outside tending to your plants will give your body the vitamin D it needs. Just remember to put on some sunscreen before going outside.
Gardening gives us an opportunity to move our bodies, even in little ways. According to Earth Easy, our hands may enjoy the tasks of repotting, planting, watering and so on as a way to keep “hand muscles vigorous and agile”. Not only that, Earth Easy goes on to say that practicing with our non-dominant hand may also support our brains as it exercises our ability to work with a side of our body we are often lax in using.
Moreover, the act of squatting, kneeling, and doing other physical activities when tending to our gardens, allows us to sweat and exercise our muscles while releasing the hormones that energize and uplift us. According to Good Housekeeping, gardening is considered a moderate-intensity exercise, which means it can deter and manage high blood pressure, especially if that is something that you would like to make sure your physical activity is taking care of.
Supports Immune Health
Another benefit of gardening that most don’t think of is its ability to support our immune system. Vitamin D already supports your immune system, but Earth Easy reports that the dirt that accumulates underneath your fingernails when you garden may also support your immune condition. Earth Easy explains, “The “friendly” soil bacteria Mycobacterium vaccae — common in garden dirt and absorbed by inhalation or ingestion on vegetables — has been found to alleviate symptoms of psoriasis, allergies and asthma,” which are all symptoms of an aggravated immune system.
That partnered with all the other benefits of gardening, from the way this activity supports our mental health to the way it can allow our bodies to move in ways that we may not have thought we needed, but actually really did, gardening is a great hobby for anyone considering it. All you need is some soil, a few clippings of a plant, and a sunny spot.