Health Benefits of Gardening

Gardening is one of those hobbies which can be enjoyed by almost anybody. From the very young to the very old, from the very healthy to those with poor health or some form of disability, all types of person can enjoy various types of gardening. For those adults who are strong and healthy virtually any aspect of the hobby can be thoroughly enjoyed as often as they like but for those less fortunate strenuous gardening tasks, such as those involved in landscaping and building a new garden, may be beyond their capabilities.

Go for Green – Active Living and Environmental Solutions, encourages outdoor physical activity that protects, enhances or restores the environment. When we Go for Green, we improve our own health, through active living and the health of the planet, by being good environmental citizens.

Gardens are sensual places, engaging all our senses in a variety of ways, encouraging us to be more in touch with ourselves and in tune with nature’s slower, gentler rhythms. Simply spending time in a garden, enjoying the sights, sounds and smells around us, can invoke a powerful sense of belonging and spiritual peace. When we nurture a garden, we increase our connection and our sense of wellbeing.

Grow your own healthy food. Turn your garden into a source of delight, good health and create your own backyard fitness centre. You don’t need a lot of space – your edible garden can grow in pots, an old wheelbarrow or a couple of fruit boxes. Find planting tips and information on the health benefits of gardening.

Our first parents knew from experience that the work of nurturing a seedling to maturity had many spiritual lessons worth learning for them. The weeds that invaded the garden were a constant reminder of the folly of sin. But the miracle of the promised resurrection was also apparent in the burial of each seed and the subsequent springing of the seedling “in newness of life”. Gardening provides a number of metaphors for life.

Eating fresh fruits and vegetables every day is one of the most important things you can do for your health. Research continues to show that there are many essential nutrients in fresh fruits and vegetables that may protect you from cancer, high blood pressure, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Eating a diet with lots of fresh produce also gives you more energy; helps reduce weight gain, and may even reduce the effects of aging.

Weight bearing activities (like carrying water to plants, pushing a wheelbarrow, or moving large potted plants) not only strengthen the heart and other muscles, but also strengthen our bones, by increasing bone density. This is important for gardeners of all ages, but especially for women in their early twenties (when most bone mass is acquired) and for elderly people who are concerned about osteoporosis (loss of bone density or bone thinning).

The body obtains antioxidants from two sources. Those that are present in the diet and those that it makes. In evolutionary terms diet can not be guaranteed, and so the most important group of antioxidants are those we make. These are proteins that can be made from any diet able to sustain life and ensure we have a high chance of surviving long enough to reproduce – the driving force behind evolution. As a consequence people often have few health problems well into their 40’s despite the quality of their diet.

Home-grown fruit and vegetables may also hold an advantage in terms of conferred health benefits. Commercial growers are skilled at maximizing yields and quality by reducing the stress load on their crops. Gardeners however, often refrain from using pesticides and artificial fertilizers with the aim of producing a more ‘natural’ product.

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