The benefits of getting outside and enjoying some ''fresh air'' are well known. For some people, this means enjoying hikes in the great outdoors or playing tennis on a bi-weekly basis with their buddies. However, many others can't physically enjoy such activities due to the cost, physical issues or just simply not liking those sort of things.
Gardening, on the other hand, is an excellent outdoor activity that can be done almost anywhere, provided that you have a small plot of land (or even space for several large planters) to grow things in. The health benefits of gardening are certainly impressive, even to the point that some doctors are now telling patients to get outdoors and garden as part of their official orders. However, whether your doctor has ordered it or not, gardening will most likely be surprisingly beneficial to you too.
1. Gardening Provides Non-Medicated Stress Relief
Between getting outdoors and digging your fingers through soft soil, gardening is actually the perfect non-medicated stress reliever. Gardening forces you to focus on taking care of and nurturing something besides yourself and your family. Tending to your plants is the key focus of gardening, and this shift in focus can actually be an excellent way to relieve stress for yourself. Gardening allows you to pour your emotional energy into something besides your normal everyday worries.
2. Gardening Offers Nutritional Benefits
For anyone who chooses to try out vegetable gardening, the nutritional benefits of participating in this hobby are huge. Fresh vegetables that have been home grown are much more likely to be enjoyed by even the pickiest eaters of your family, if for no other reason than the novelty of knowing the vegetables were grown by you.
3. It's a Great Way to Get Your Vitamin D
Gardening is an excellent way to ensure that you get outside and get your daily dosage of Vitamin D direct from sunlight. This is particularly important for the elderly, as studies show that many do not get outside enough to get proper amounts of this vitamin. Of course, taking care of your skin by not exposing it too much to the sun is also important; enjoy the sunlight while gardening, but be careful not to stay out unprotected in it for too long. A good wide brimmed hat and some sun-screen will mean you garden happily knowing you are protected from the sun.
4. Gardening Can Be A Low Impact Exercise
Believe it or not, gardening can actually be an excellent way to exercise. While it is certainly not a cardiovascular exercise for most people, it still is a good form of low impact muscle strengthening. Bending down, getting up, stretching, and squatting are all great ways to keep your lower body in shape while hoeing and watering with a hose can help provide more of an upper body workout. Perhaps one of the greatest things about ''exercise gardening'' is that the joy of gardening takes away your focus from the exercise aspect of it; you're working out without even having to think about it.
5. This Hobby Is Relatively Affordable
Gardening, as a whole, is fairly inexpensive. Topsoil can be purchased for low prices, and it can even be â€œmadeâ€ just by starting your own compost bin or pit. Starting from seeds is also certainly one of the cheapest ways to get into gardening, although those with less of a green thumb might want to first try out taking care of already sprouted plants. Either way, the monetary cost of gardening is far outweighed by its physical, emotional, and social health benefits.
6. Gardening Offers Social Benefits
Finally, gardening can be an excellent way to enter into new social circles. Most towns have local gardening clubs that meet semi-frequently, and such clubs attract a variety of individuals. From the old time gardeners to the beginners, gardening clubs are filled with others who are enjoying gardening for many of the same reasons that you yourself are. Join a club, make friends, and enjoy getting to know others with similar hobbies from different walks of life.
So there you have it. Gardening is not just about growing flowers, plants or vegetables and looking after your garden. It is also about looking after you and your health. Go for it – get busy gardening!