Why Gardening Is Good For You

Fresh air, sunshine, and light movement can be invigorating for your body. Combine that with the connection to nature, growing healthy food, and making your outdoor space attractive.

Updated on May 17, 2017 12:05 pm

Article originally published in Fix.com. Edited and published with permission.

It’s not difficult to see that gardening is great light exercise, right? Hauling mulch bags, turning the compost, digging holes, and raking leaves all use your entire body, stretching and building muscle. But what if you knew that gardening is actually good for your emotional health as well? In fact, gardening is known to be beneficial for every single part of you—body, mind, and spirit.

Most of us have too many things going on in our lives on a day-to-day basis. Whether we work outside the home, have a busy desk job, or take care of children, we try to be multi-tasking champions, often at the risk of our own health. Experts call this “Directed Attention Fatigue”—our minds are forced to focus too long and too hard, with overloading and constant stimuli. It’s not good for anyone, and can take a serious toll on every part of us.

A simple antidote is to get outside in the garden, because when we garden, the mind is able to relax and focus on just one thing. And with some garden tasks like weeding and watering, no focus is even necessary—we know what to do and can do it on autopilot. This allows the mind and body to decompress and simply connect to the moment.

A number of things that happen in the body when you garden distinguish this activity from any other type of “workout.” Fresh air, sunshine, and light movement can be invigorating for your body. Combine that with the connection to nature, growing healthy food, and making your outdoor space attractive and inviting, and you’ve got the perfect ingredients for feeling strong, balanced, and mindful.

Start cultivating a mindset about gardening that removes it from the “To Do” list and puts it squarely on the “Lifestyle” list, integrating the natural world into your daily life by starting with the garden.

Fun Fact: When you dig around in the soil, planting flowers and harvesting vegetables, you are coming into contact with something called Mycobacterium vaccae, beneficial bacteria that help to stabilize mood and promote better sleep. What’s even more interesting is that you don’t even need to dig to be exposed, because simply being outside in the garden and inhaling can do the trick quite nicely. We are trained to think that all bacteria are bad, but that is not necessarily the case—exposure to these “good” bacteria in the soil can help to strengthen the immune system, optimizing health.

As you continue gardening and expand your skills and knowledge base, start thinking of other activities that you can bring out to the garden. Aside from bringing daily activities out to the garden, start thinking about other ways your garden can contribute to your overall health and wellness, like:

  • Use edible flowers to garnish salads and cocktails (geraniums, violas, roses, marigolds, lavender, nasturtiums).
  • Use dried herbs for tinctures (find the details on the internet).
  • Use scented plants for aromatherapy (lavender, mint, rosemary).
  • Work (phone calls, light computer work)
  • Use fresh and dried herbs for teas (chamomile, lavender, mint).
  • Bring cut flowers and foliage inside to brighten up your work and living spaces.

Share your thoughts with us at hello@cromly.com.

Cover photo courtesy of Sivana East
Infographic courtesy of Fix.com

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