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Gardening For Your Health is a guest post by Mollie Jolin December 2010
With winter in full swing in much of the US, many gardeners and green-thumbs are itching to get back outside and engage in the hobby they hold so dear. Moreover, did you know that gardening has amazing health benefits other than the nutrition provided by the food you grow? It’s true! According to ‘schools for nutrition’, gardening can help you live a longer, fuller life through the health benefits it provides.
While many fitness buffs may express disdain at this claim, it is a fact: gardening is great exercise.
According to the University of Virginia, gardening is on par with other moderate forms of exercise such as biking, walking, or even lightly jogging. And while it depends on which task you are engaged in, the exercise provided by gardening can burn up to 500 calories per hour.
Gardening works all the major muscle groups, and a great deal of stretching is usually involved: lifting heavy bags of mulch, shoveling, and pushing a wheelbarrow provide effects similar to weight training while reaching for tall branches and weeds provide stretching that is on par with Pilates. In addition, there is minimal stress and jarring on the body while gardening, unlike jogging or aerobics which tend to cause stress on your legs and buttocks due to the impact involved in them. In all, strength, endurance, and flexibility are all improved by gardening. It is recommended that you garden for between 30 and 45 minutes to get the full workout associated with gardening.
2.) Disease Prevention
Gardening is a spectacular activity to prevent diseases and chronic health conditions. The exercise associated with gardening is listed by the AMA in the prevention of heart disease, obesity, and osteoporosis. Research by the University of Iowa has shown that gardening for 30 minutes a day will help increase flexibility, strengthen joints, lower blood pressure, and reduce the risk of adult-onset diabetes. The fresh air breathed while gardening can reduce respiratory inflammation and allergens associated with recycled air. Based on these facts, it’s a very unwise decision to not be gardening!
3.) Mental Health
One’s garden provides a place of relaxation and peace; an oasis of tranquility in the midst of a world gone mad. Gardeners are more in concert with nature and the natural flow of life than those who do not garden, allowing them to restore a sense of peace and well-being many people envy. Gardening provides for an outlet of self-expression, requiring the gardener to use their creativity and knowledge to create a truly breath-taking landscape to be admired by neighbours and peers for years to come. The sense of accomplishment associated with the creation and upkeep of a garden can soothe even the most frazzled mental state. Plus, the endorphins released as a result of the exercise needed for gardening helps to alleviate stress and promote a good mood. All in all, gardeners tend to be hopeful, optimistic people who look forward to the next season and accept imperfections while being flexible enough to adapt to changing circumstances.
As the snow falls outside and the temperatures encourage us to remain in our cocoons for the winter, it is a great time to start planning your gardening project for the spring. If you have never taken to gardening in the past, give it another shot! The benefits listed above should provide you with more than enough motivation to develop your green thumb.
Bio: Mollie Jolin loves to write and shares her passion working for onlineschools.org. In her free time she loves to garden and take long walks outside.