Gardening for Better Health - Physical, Mental, Social and Emotional.
"We may think that we are nurturing our gardens but of course, it is our gardens that are really nurturing us" Jenny Ugluw. What better season than spring to inspire us to spend time in our gardens given its numerous health benefits such as:
1) Increased Physical Well-Being: Gardening is Deemed as Sport
Globally, gardening is now recognised as a low to medium intensity sport and there is scientific evidence for its physiological benefits such as Lower Mortality, Lower Cholesterol and Blood Pressure, Better Hand Function Ability and Higher Bone Mineral Density. It also increases mobility and flexibility, endurance and strength as well as using a wide variety of motor skills.
2) Better Psychological Well-Being
More than just disease prevention and exercise benefits, evidence suggest that gardening helps ease symptoms of mental illnesses e.g. depression and anxiety. Gardening is nature's way of healing. An article in the Journal of Health Psychology titled, "Gardening Promotes Neuroendocrine and Affective Restoration from Stress" found that gardening leads to decreased cortisol levels and positive moods which can "promote relief from acute stress." And further studies even reported that participants of gardening reported significantly less perceived stress than participants of indoor exercise classes.
3) Improved Social Well-Being
Whether you are gardening alone, with your family or the whole community, it is a great way to stay outdoors and away from screen-time while benefitting the community where we live by beautifying it or just giving away extra produce. Gardens have helped societies in bringing communities together, providing fresh produce to school children and reducing problems like dementia-linked aggression at homes for the memory-impaired.
4) Enhanced Nutrition Intake: Eating More Vegetables
Research indicates that those who plant their own gardens are more likely to consume an increased amount of fruits and vegetables. This certainly helps parents with fussy eaters and assists in instilling healthy eating habits from a young age. Aside from encouraging more home-cooked and seasonal food, it is also an affordable means to have organic or chemically pesticide free fruits and vegetables readily available.
After all, how much better can it get than a therapeutic sport where you can literally eat the fruit of your labour thereafter?