Having a Green Thumb: How Gardening Benefits Your Health

Gardening has often been thought of as a pastime that only those with green thumbs could enjoy. However, like with every other aspect of our lives, the COVID-19 pandemic changed the way people looked at the activity. As many worried about contracting the virus, social gatherings were halted, grocery runs turned into panic buying sprees, and remote work and education became the new norm.

This physical and social isolation led to many people feeling an increased sense of anxiety and depression, which prompted many to find different coping mechanisms to deal with the stress caused by the pandemic. One of these mechanisms was a home improvement, especially gardening. Because of the health benefits brought about by caring for plants, the activity quickly became a popular trend among many, with people rushing to plant nurseries and gardening centers to get the tools and plants they needed for their backyards. Even now, the gardening trend shows no sign of stopping.

Whether you’re just getting interested in gardening or are looking for more reasons to flex your green thumb, here are a few ways starting your own garden and tending plants can bring positive effects to your health.

Builds Your Self-Esteem

Not everyone is born with a green thumb. You may have tried to care for plants before, but instead of tending them, you may have ended up killing them with your inexperience. However, you shouldn’t let this stop you from trying again. Gardening is sometimes a trial-and-error process, and once you get the hang of tilling, planting, and nurturing your garden, you’ll see that you’re more in tune with the earth than you thought you were.

Eventually, you’ll become more confident of adding a variety of plants to your garden and even experimenting with different techniques to take care of your plants more efficiently. Everyone can nurture a garden; it just takes a bit of practice.

Keeps Your Bones Strong

gardening concept

Studies show that gardening, being an outdoor activity, has helped older adults receive an adequate amount of vitamin D. The vitamin helps protect your bones and boost your immune system, which is especially important at a time like this. However, it’s important to protect your skin with sunscreen and protect your eyes with a pair of sunglasses.

If you want a no-fuss gardening experience that allows you to receive your vitamin D without the harsh effects of the sun, on the other hand, you can consider having a glass conservatory built in your home. This not only provides you the vitamin D you need, but it also helps beautify and create an extension for your home.

Helps You Get Exercise In

Gardening is tiring work. You’ll find yourself moving around often- bending down, squatting, pulling at weeds, etc. Even just an hour of yard work can be just as effective, if not more, as lifting weights for the same amount of time. The National Institute of Health even recommends doing gardening work for at least 30 to 45 minutes a day. So if you’re looking for an effective way to burn calories without hitting the gym, tending for your plants will do the trick.

Not only will it help you get regular exercise, but it will also help you control or even prevent high blood pressure that leads to cardiovascular diseases.

Protects Your Memory

It’s been proven that regular exercise improves your brain’s cognitive functioning. And while the topic of whether gardening on its own is enough to affect your brain’s overall cognitive functions is debatable, researchers found that gardening activities are effective as a treatment for dementia. This is called horticultural therapy.

Improves Your Hand Coordination

Hand coordination is important in everyday life. Along with strength and flexibility, it helps make tasks like carrying children, opening jars, lift heavy cooking or baking utensils, etc. If you’re tending to your garden regularly, it is the perfect way to hone and strengthen your muscles and motor skills. Even simple gardening tasks like weeding can help reduce the possibility of repetitive strain injuries or RSIs, which are usually caused by texting, typing, or even swiping on your phone.

Boosts Your Mood

At such a stressful time in our lives, it’s only right to find activities that improve our mood and reduce our stress levels. Fortunately, gardening is one of these activities. Studies have shown that doing yard work and tending to your garden can help reduce anxiety and depression symptoms. In fact, a study in the Netherlands took place where two groups of students were instructed to either garden or read indoors for 30 minutes after a stressful task. It was then found that the ones who chose to garden fared better than those who read indoors, as they showed lower levels of cortisol, the hormone attributed to stress, in their bodies.

Gardening, while often thought of as a simple task that helped improve the aesthetic of a home, is a versatile activity that allows us to experience the outdoors, get a good amount of vitamin D in our system, get the exercise we need and so much more. Most importantly, it gives us something to do and enjoy during these uncertain times. Gardening is for everyone, and you don’t need a huge backyard or a green thumb to get started. All it takes is a little effort, patience, and research, and you’ll be on your way to reaping the benefits of this therapeutic activity.

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