8 Ways Gardening Can Improve Wellness

We finished planting our garden yesterday. We had already planted our lettuce and spinach, but all our other seedlings were sitting in their little cow pots waiting to be planted. This time of year I just can’t wait to get my hands in the dirt and start planting. The garden is my happy place.

So far we’ve had asparagus twice, and we have lettuce and spinach that will be ready to cut soon. Yesterday we planted four different types of tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, zucchini, and yellow squash. It’s been so much fun to watch them come up from those tiny seeds, and I can’t wait to see what they’re going to do now that they’re in that nice rich soil. Gardening isn’t just fun, though; it can also improve our wellness.

What does gardening have to do with Wellness? You might be surprised….

Growing our own food has many benefits, not just for our physical dimension of wellness, but other dimensions as well. Getting outside and planting, growing, and harvesting our own food is not only rewarding, it can help improve our overall wellness.

8 Ways Gardening Can Improve Wellness

Here are just a few of the benefits of planting a garden, whether in the ground or in pots on the patio:

1. You control the quality of your food.

One of the biggest benefits of growing your own food is that you control its quality. For example, I choose to grow organically, which means I don’t ever have to worry about getting a helping of pesticides with my nice, healthy veggies. Also, because you prepare your soil, you have the opportunity to make sure it has the nutrients it needs to produce nutritious, delicious food.

2. Gardening is a great way to get some exercise.

When gardening, we use all the major muscle groups, train functional movement patterns, and even get our hearts pumping, which can increase our cardiovascular fitness.

3. It can help boost Vitamin D levels.

Our bodies use sunlight to make Vitamin D, and working in the garden can help us get a little exposure to sunlight. Of course, you shouldn’t spend more than about 15 minutes in the sun without sunscreen, so make sure you protect your skin if you’re going to be out there for a while.

4. Gardening can help reduce stress and lift your mood.

As we talked about in 10 Ways to Manage Stress, studies have shown that both exercise and being outdoors help improve mood. With gardening, you get both!

Lettuce in the garden, with quote: "If you've never experienced the joy of accomplishing more than you can imagine, plant a garden." ~Robert Brault

5. It can help reduce dementia risk.

According to AARP (1), “a 2006 study found that gardening could lower risk of dementia by 36 percent. Researchers tracked more than 2,800 people over the age of 60 for 16 years and concluded that physical activity, particularly gardening, could reduce the incidence of dementia in future years.”

6. Growing your own fruits and vegetables can encourage you to eat more of them.

Who doesn’t need to eat more fruits and veggies? Growing our own can make it easier to get more of them into our diets. There are a few reasons: we don’t have to make a trip to the grocery store and we tend to grow the things we like to eat so we’ll eat more of them. In addition, there’s just something exciting about going out, picking something we grew with our own hands, and eating it.

7. It can encourage you to get creative.

If you’ve ever grown zucchini, you know they’re prolific producers. Around here, so many people have extras we can’t even give them away! It can be the same with other veggies, and even if you do share with the neighbors, you may have to get creative with new ways to cook them.

8. Growing your own food can give you a sense of purpose and accomplishment.

It’s such a great feeling when you see those first few spears of asparagus or leaves of lettuce popping up through the soil. It really does give you a sense of accomplishment,  and there’s just nothing quite like eating food that you’ve grown yourself.

Gardening Doesn’t Have to Be Hard

Many people think that gardening has to be a huge undertaking, but really, you can grow your own food pretty much anywhere you get sunlight for a good part of the day. In fact, for people who don’t have a large yard or the time to deal with a large garden, container gardening is becoming more and more popular. All you need to get started are some containers and some good-quality soil.

Whether your garden is large, small, or somewhere in between, the benefits to your wellness make growing some of your own food worth the effort.

Are you a gardener? What benefits have you experienced from growing your own food? Please share!

Blessings,

~Terri

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Garden with text overlay: 8 Ways Gardening Can Improve Wellness

Sources:

(1) 5 Health Benefits of Gardening and Planting, AARP, https://www.aarp.org/health/healthy-living/info-2017/health-benefits-of-gardening

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