Being outdoors in the fresh air is great and combined with an activity like gardening, you can get lots of additional health benefits too.
With full lockdown release still a few weeks away, we thought we’d pull out some research facts and plant a few ideas on how gardening can help your health to blossom!
Vit D boost
Many of us are lacking in vitamin D over the winter months as we need sunlight to produce it. So much so that the government recommends supplements in winter. So, when summer’s here, it’s worth getting outdoors to boost our vitamin D more naturally…taking care, of course, to avoid sun damage.
That expensive gym membership and the risks of an indoors workout aren’t worth it when you can increase muscle and give heart and lungs a good workout with some vigorous gardening instead. Digging, squatting, lifting and more can help retain muscle that we lose at a rate of 8% per decade after 40. And giving heart and lungs a workout protects us from heart disease, stroke and other diseases…as well as keeping us feeling fit and healthy now.
Forget dieting – 85% of people who try to control their weight through fad diets alone will fail. Instead, gardening offers a great distraction from grazing on junk food and burns off calories to boot. Half an hour of shovelling, mowing or raking can burn off up to 250 calories.
Up your 5-a day
People who eat 5 portions of fruit and veg a day have a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and various forms of cancer. As a result they tend to live longer too.
Growing your own may encourage you to hit your target….as well as allowing you to grow organically to ensure your produce is free of pesticides and more.
But don’t worry if you don’t have a garden. You can grow herbs on the windowsill, tomatoes in a hanging basket and carrots, potatoes and more in a pot. No excuses!
If you want some ideas on the easiest way to start on growing veg, check out this article from Gardeners’ World.
Let nature nuture your mind
There’s a sense of achievement in producing your own veg or creating a flower-filled garden. There is a brain boost from fresh air and an opportunity to de-stress. And tending an allotment gives you an opportunity to mix with other like-minded people…in a socially distanced way. And even if you haven’t got a garden, you can take the opportunity to do volunteer work outdoors – helping elderly neighbours with lawn-mowing, for example. That charitable act can give an added boost to our mental health, according to research.
So, take advantages of the multitude of health benefits that gardening can bring and see how your fitness, your health and your wellbeing grow!