DHAKA: Not only can gardening be an effective form of workout, but it can also benefit your mental health too. Spending time outside can help reduce depression, anger and stress.
Furthermore, gardening is good for you as it can help reduce the risk of diseases such as stroke and osteoporosis as well as improving your immune system.
From improving our immune system to encouraging us to live in the moment, everyday gardening tasks can have a surprisingly positive impact on our physical and mental health.
It’s also a great opportunity for gardeners to release any anger or frustration in a safe and productive way, whilst helping us to feel more in tune with the seasonal changes and to live in the moment.
Gardening also provides essential opportunities for contact with nature, which alone has numerous benefits for our mental health. Spending time outdoors in a natural environment helps us to feel less stressed, reduces the symptoms of depression, and enhances our concentration and attention by allowing us to recover from mental fatigue.
Reduced risk of stroke
According to The British Medical Journal gardening can help reduce the risk of a heart attack or stroke. When looking at the age group 60+ gardening can help prolong life by up to as much as 30%.
Gardening can be a hard workout depending on what you do and for how long. A simple 1 hour of gardening could help you to burn up to 330 calories. Also, if you garden for three to four hours, you could easily burn as many calories as you would from one hour in the gym.
Therefore, The National Institute of Health recommend 30-45 minutes of gardening for three to five times per week. This could be a perfect solution for those not preferring to visit the gym.
In a study conducted in the Netherlands, two groups of students were told to either read indoors or garden for thirty minutes after completing a stressful task and surprisingly, the group that took to the garden exhibited lower levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, than those that stayed inside to read. So, trading your BlackBerry for a blackberry bush might be the perfect way to fight stress.
Improved immune system
Also, another advantage of the sun is that it can help you absorb plenty of vitamin D. In short, Vitamin D can help your body to absorb calcium, which in turn, can help keep your bone strong and your immune system healthy.
Maintaining your garden and keeping your plants alive is a great responsibility. This could be beneficial for those with mental health issues or those just looking for self-worth and purpose.
Live in the moment
Being outside in your garden and experiencing the change of seasons as and when they happen can help you feel connected to the world. This is like sitting in an office all day with only a glimpse out of a window can make time go quickly before you know it it’ll be New Year’s Eve again. Therefore spending the time outside and experiencing the flowers as they bloom can be a great way to keep track of time.
Vent anger and aggression
If you have experienced a bad day simply grabbing a shovel and doing some heavy digging or drastic pruning could be a great way to rid of your built up of negative feelings. Furthermore, destroying unwanted brambles and weeds is a convenient way to exert anger as if you don’t destroy them they may soon take over your garden!
Spending time in the garden is a great way to enhance your sensory system. With all the different smells, colours and textures of plants around you can easily make the most of your body’s abilities. This could be particularly valuable for young children who are learning about the different senses they have.
Growing fruit and vegetables
Growing fruit and vegetables in your garden can be good for you as you can include your produce in your diet. Apples, tomatoes, carrots, in your garden, could all help you reach your daily five a day.
Osteoporosis is a disease that can weaken bones and therefore increases the likelihood of a broken bone. Therefore, by regularly gardening you will take part in repetitive tasks that can ensure all the major muscle groups are getting a good workout. This can help decrease the risk of osteoporosis.
Reduced risk of dementia
There has been research that suggests engaging in a physical activity such as gardening can help lower the risk of developing dementia. For instance, one study following a group of people in their 60s and 70s for 16 years found that those who gardened regularly had between a 36% – 47% lower risk of developing dementia compared to non-gardeners.
Altered state of consciousness
Gardening can help you enter the ‘zone’. This can also be known as an altered state of consciousness where you enter a magical and spiritual place where you can experience the best of who you are. Similar to what an athlete will enter before and during a competition, or the mood you enter during yoga or meditation.
Once gardening you won’t need to worry about the bills you need to pay, upcoming deadlines at work or people who have done something to offend you. Just breathe in the fresh air, give some attention to your garden and forget about any worries you may have.
If you spend lots of time in the garden, you can develop your sensory system – all the colours, aromas and textures can develop your sight, smell, touch and hearing reflexes. This makes gardening especially suitable for young children as it helps develop their senses and imagination
Overall, gardening regularly is proven to be good for you in many different ways. From health-related benefits that can help reduce the risk of a heart attack to helping you relax after a stressful day. What’s better than getting fit and maintaining a healthy lifestyle whilst making your garden a lovely environment you will want to spend time in.
BDST 1245 HRS, SEP 3, 2019