Spring is the time when flowers are in full bloom and gardens burst with life. While growing a garden helps add beauty to our homes, cultivating greenery may also perk up our life. Don’t fret if your thumb isn’t green, there are plants and flowers that are easy to manage. Even for those who have no experience.
Planting a garden doesn’t have to translate to fruits or veggies. Gardens can include potted plants, shrubs, ivy, flowers, herbs…anything green goes! Before you plant anything, check with your local nursery to find out which greenery grows best in your area. Some plants need more sun or water, while others thrive with little maintenance and certain grasses may even be drought-resistant (win/win!).Whatever you decide to plant, your green contributions may help your health. Here are eight ways gardening may promote healthier living:
1. We eat what we grow
If you’re taking on a produce garden, you’ll of course want to eat what you grow. This means that you may up your intake of healthy veggies or fruits. Fresh grown herbs also taste so much better than those we buy in the store. Enjoy the fruits of your labor, and know that your body is benefiting from those homegrown nutrients.
2. Gardening may increase our activity levels
Tending a garden requires physical activity. You’re digging, pulling weeds, maybe lifting bags of soil or fertilizer. Gardening isn’t just a lay back and smell the flowers hobby, it takes work. And gardening is an easy way to encourage more outdoor activities if you tend to be sedentary. Just don’t forget to wear sunscreen!
3. Gardening may broaden your horizons
If you’re more of a wallflower, gardening may help you branch out socially. There are many local gardening clubs or groups that you can join to find helpful tips, expertise and new friendships. Grow your garden and your social circle!
4. Green is calming
5. Gardening may help reduce the risk of dementia
According to a study, gardening was shown to lower the risk of dementia by 36 percent. In addition, researchers at UCLA and the University of Pittsburgh also found that gardening may help lower the risk for Alzheimer’s–researchers theorize that the link is tied to the physical activity of gardeners.
6. A daily dose of vitamin D
Exposure to the sun encourages our body to produce vitamin D. So heading outdoors to tend to a garden is a simple way to venture out into the sun. Again, though, remember to protect your skin with SPF 30 and wear sunglasses!
7. You may benefit from a healthier BMI
A study that looked at the benefits of community gardens noted that gardeners have a lower Body Mass Index (or BMI) and “lower odds of being overweight and obese.” An individual’s BMI is one way doctor’s help gauge health; according to the National Institutes of Health National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, BMI “is a measure of body fat based on height and weight.”
8. Gardening may help lower your stress levels
Maybe it’s the beauty of the outdoors, the soothing hue of greenery or all that fresh air, but gardening may help lower stress! According to CNN, a study out of the Netherlands had participants complete a stress-inducing task then read or garden. The group that tended to a garden had decreased levels of cortisol…and they felt happier!
It’s the perfect time to think about adding greenery to your backyard. Head to your local nursery and talk to the staff about what plants and flowers work best for your lifestyle and climate. Then get out there and garden…your health will thank you!
All photos from Shuterstock
Guest Author Bio
Amy Williams is a free-lance journalist based in Southern California and mother of two. As a parent, she enjoys spreading the word on positive parenting techniques in the digital age and raising awareness on issues like cyberbullying and online safety