Have you experienced being in nature and feeling much better about yourself? With the sun shining on your back, the wind blowing against the trees, and the birds chirping as they soar in the sky it’s no wonder why people love exploring the outdoors. If you haven’t, you’re not alone.
We live in a world that revolves around technology and no longer values the beauty in nature — which means, we’re missing out on a lot. Being in nature can connect us with the world around us, without the use of social media. Best of all, the benefits of nature don’t require a weekend getaway somewhere on a mountainside. Instead, you can reconnect with the world around you by simply exploring your backyard garden, which will make you a much better person in the long run.
That said, it should come as no surprise to hear that growing your own fruits and vegetables not only improves your diet but improves the quality of life for everyone around you. We simply cannot eat, drink, or even breathe without plants around. No plants mean no life, and that’s not a good thing.
Aside from having access to your own personal vegetable garden, eating unprocessed food isn’t the only reason this hobby is good for you. In fact, an analysis that was published recently suggested that digging in the dirt benefits the body, mind, and soul – not just the plants.
So without further ado, here are some amazing health benefits one can gain from gardening that will without a doubt, improve the quality of life not only for them but for those around them as well.
It Can Help Reduce Unnecessary Stress
Did you know that stress has become one of America’s most leading health concerns? In fact, stress is such a big problem that approximately 169 million people struggle to sleep at least once a week. In other words, stress has the ability to affect us even we’re trying to rest up for the next day.
Fortunately, getting out in the garden at the end of a long day at work, school or meeting reduces the amount of stress your body produces. In one study, for example, the stress levels of participants decreased significantly shortly after doing 30 minutes of outdoor gardening. During the study, participants were asked to perform a highly stressful task before their stress levels become high. Once the stress levels were high enough, some of the volunteers were assigned a gardening task to finish.
That’s when researchers noticed that the participants stress levels dropped significantly after 30 minutes. Gardening can even help those who suffer from stress-related illnesses on a daily basis by connecting their experiences of rehabilitation in the garden to everyday life.
Helps Individuals Overcome Loneliness
Generally speaking, after retirement, the majority of people struggle with overcoming the feeling of loneliness since there are few opportunities to socialize with people. Luckily, community gardens are a great way for retired residents to engage with others while still helping the environment and restoring their community. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, gardens stationed throughout different communities are designed to help residents work together on a collaborative project where participants help with the maintenance of the garden and its production. This includes both “healthful and affordable fruits and vegetables.”
Additionally, the American Community Gardening Association (ACGA) offers a locator tool to help residents find local community gardens. With the association understanding how gardening can help improve the quality of life, they simply wanted to offer a service that was beneficial to community members by encouraging community development, production – in delicious vegetables – and help people become self-reliant. In doing so, it would also help the community become more eco-friendly, and create opportunities for recreation, therapy, and education.
Increase Exposure to Vitamin D
Although vitamin D is labeled as “the sunshine vitamin,” it can cause major health issues if the body’s deprived of it. For starters, vitamin D works by absorbing calcium, which builds stronger bones and helps your immune system. In 2014, an Italian Study discovered that exposure to sunlight can actually help older adults achieve the serum vitamin D levels needed to produce a stronger immune system. So you see, outdoor activities like planting and gardening are perfect ways to get sunshine while establishing a fun new hobby. Just be sure to remember the sunscreen and sunglasses to protect your skin from getting burned.
Increases Better Nutrition
There is usually nothing healthier than growing your own fruits and vegetables – as long as you use healthy soil, go easy with the pesticides, and eat your favorite fruits and vegetables once they’re ripe. By doing this, you’ll increase your health in a number of ways – starting with your internal organs. You’ll also spend less since you won’t have to go to the store to buy organic produce at your local grocery store, farmer’s market, or co-op. Don’t worry, your wallet will thank you in the long run.
Slows Down Climate Change
When it comes to reversing the environmental damage already done, there’s a lot that can be done on an individual level. Recycling, carpooling, hybrid cars, and using energy efficient house appliances all help of course. But did you know that the garden in your backyard can be added to the list of environmentally friendly resources as well? That’s because gardens – like all plants – provides us with the resources needed to offset greenhouse gases, asphalt, and other harmful chemicals from seeping into the air quality.
Increase Brain Activity
Although gardening requires individuals to work with their hands, it also gives our brains a workout. How? Well, imagine walking around your backyard looking for an area to establish as your garden. Then, once you find the perfect area you begin researching different plants that you know will thrive in that particular climate and soil. Over time, this will force your brain to think outside the box if problems come up later on down the road. This is what will boost your creativity, and help you have a better understanding of the plants around your home.
For example, when students and young children participate in gardening activities, they challenge themselves mentally to solve problems – both individually and collectively. Since gardening gets children outside more, it might also with students who struggle with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), which has been associated with individuals not getting enough sunshine.
Tips for Being Safe While Gardening
Being outside digging in the dirt is supposed to be an enjoyable experience. That said, before running in your backyard and digging to plant seeds, gardeners should always be sure to:
- Wear a hat
- Use sunscreen
- Stay hydrated
- Be prepared for bug bites
- Be patient
Again, gardening is supposed to be a fun activity that can help beautify your backyard and your neighborhood. However, protecting yourself shouldn’t feel like a daunting task. So, take precaution when you’re outside with tools, chemicals, and insects. Since we’re prone to accidents, if one happens – like a cut – apply pressure and clean the area as soon as possible with mild soap and clean water.
Bees also play a pivotal role in the garden and without them, many of our favorite fruits and vegetables simply wouldn’t harvest. That’s why it’s important to encourage bee activity in your garden and avoid using harsh chemicals that can kill them. Instead, take special care when applying garden sprays to your backyard forest, and don’t get upset when you see certain insects flying around.
The last thing you want to do is poison your own fruits and vegetables. Right? Rather than reaching for the bug spray, just pay close attention to the insects surround your garden. Although they might appear to be destroying your beloved fruits and vegetables, they actually might be helping it.
That’s why it’s highly encouraged to observe first before you react in self-defense. Patience is key when it comes to gardening and the best thing you can do when it comes to your garden is let nature takes its course.