What is gardening? Simply put, gardening is the practice of growing and cultivating plants. These plants range from the ornamental ones to those with practical use to everyday living. Gardening can be done on a large scale and it can also be done in the comfort of one’s home. Many people might regard this activity as a simple one but surprisingly, there are many benefits of gardening.
Exercise and Health
One of the most overlooked benefits of gardening is in terms of health. This is mostly due to the notion that gardening is not “real” exercise. But as a matter of fact, research tells us that gardening burns at an average 300 calories per hour. Also, 30 minutes of aerobic exercise can burn as much calories as 45 minutes of gardening work. Unlike other activities, gardening integrates strength, flexibility, and endurance, which makes it a complete form of exercise. It gets your body moving. Because of this there are obvious benefits when it comes to weight loss as well as lowering cholesterol and blood pressure levels. According to studies, to maximize the physical benefits of gardening, do things manually and spend at least an hour of gardening two to three times per week.
Studies confirm that cultivating a garden makes a person eat healthier. This is one of the nutritional benefits of gardening. The reason for this is that, gardens grown at home are filled with a number of fruits and vegetables. A recent study shows that gardeners consume more fruits and vegetables compared to non-gardeners. The reason behind this is that people are more comfortable in consuming food which they themselves have grown and prepared. Also, it is simply evident that homegrown food tastes a lot better than commercially produced ones.
The benefits of gardening are not only manifested in the physical aspect but also in the emotional and mental aspect as well. Gardening allows a person to be connected with nature. Digging dirt, weeding plants, and arranging pots can be a form of relaxation which in turn reduces stress. This connection with nature can also be found just by looking at the plants and flowers in the garden. The colours and the textures observed in a garden can induce a feeling of calmness, serenity, and happiness in a person. Also, recent studies confirm that gardening can be more relaxing than the common leisure activities like reading.
The study was done with one group reading for 30 minutes while the other group participated in a gardening activity for the same amount of time. After the activity, it was noted that the gardening group reported better and were more positive than the reading group. The result was confirmed when the gardening group were measured to have lower amounts of cortisol, a stress hormone. Another thing about gardening is that it slows down the pace of everyday life for you. It can be said that we live in the digital age wherein things can be done quickly like in just a click of a button. What gardening does is that it unplugs a person from the world and makes him appreciate the little things in life. It teaches a person to be patient and look at things in a different perspective. This is just one example of the therapeutic benefits of gardening.
When a person practices gardening, he or she develops his inner creativity without him or her realizing it. When planning the layout of the garden, choosing the flowers and arranging them requires a piece of one’s creativity. Sparking one’s creativity by doing gardening can also improve a person’s brain activity reducing the risk of developing dementia.
One with Nature
The benefits of gardening extend not only on the personal level but also on the external level as well. When cultivating a garden, one creates a better world for everybody; it creates a better environment. Plants act as an effective air cleaner that absorbs pollutants which in turn releases clean oxygen. Also, the plants can aid in holding soil together to avoid erosion and dirt being dragged into the road and canals. One more thing, cultivating a garden can cool the surroundings especially one’s home during the intense summer heat and it can give warmth during the winter days. According to the Plants for Clean Air Council, an energy efficient landscape can reduce one’s energy cost by up to 20%.
As said earlier, gardening can be done in various forms. A person can start his or her own garden in a small lot or even in the comfort of his or her own backyard. They key here is to start small to reap these amazing benefits of gardening.