April 14th marks National Gardening Day, a day dedicated to celebrating the joys of gardening and the benefits it offers. This annual celebration aims to encourage gardeners at all levels–expert and novice alike–to get outside, pick up a shovel, plant some seeds, and experience the joys of seeing their garden flourish.
Gardening is not only a fun and relaxing hobby, but it also offers a range of health and wellbeing benefits. In today’s blog, we will look at five amazing benefits of gardening that you might not know about.
Gardening is a Stress-Reliever
Gardening is known for its calming and relaxing effects on the mind and body. In fact, according to BBC Science Focus, gardening just twice per week can improve wellbeing and reduce stress levels.
Studies have shown that spending time outside in nature, such as in a garden, can lower stress, improve mental health, and promote an overall sense of well-being. Gardening offers an opportunity to disconnect from the noise and distractions of modern life and immerse yourself in the beauty of nature and the task at hand.
Additionally, gardening requires a surprising level of physical activity, which is fantastic for both your physical health and mental wellbeing. Digging, planting, and weeding are all forms of exercise that can help to release endorphins, the body's natural mood-boosters.
Amazingly, gardening has been shown to have similar effects on the mind and body as meditation, making it an excellent way to unwind after a long day. If sitting still isn’t your thing, a moving meditation such as gardening is a great alternative.
Gardening Promotes a Healthy Diet
Gardening offers an opportunity to grow, harvest, and eat your own fruits and vegetables, which can have a tremendously positive impact on your diet. By growing your own produce, you have absolute control over what goes into your food, and you can ensure that the fruits and vegetables you enjoy are free from harmful chemicals and pesticides.
In addition, growing your own may encourage you to eat more fruits and vegetables, which is perhaps the single most beneficial dietary change you can make for better health. The act of planting, nurturing, and harvesting produce also fosters a deeper appreciation and respect for the food you eat and where it comes from.
If you have children, why not get them involved? Gardening is a great way to introduce them to lots of different healthy fruits and vegetables, and they'll love being able to pick and eat something they've grown themselves.
Gardening Can Boost Your Immune System
Any keen gardener will tell you how important sunlight is for plants. Through photosynthesis, plants turn sunlight into the food that enables them to grow and thrive.
But did you know that sunlight is also vital for your health? Sunlight is the most important source of Vitamin D, an essential nutrient that plays a role in hundreds of bodily functions, from cell growth to bone strength. It even aids in the adsorbtion of certain other nutrients.
In addition, Vitamin D is associated with optimal immune functioning and can lower your risk of numerous illnesses, including type 2 diabetes, dementia, and some cancers.
This means that getting out in the sun regularly while you dig your garden can actually boost your immune system and help you ward off disease. Don’t forget to enjoy the sun responsibly–put on a hat, use sunscreen, stay hydrated, and limit your exposure during the hottest part of the day.
Gardening Can Improve Your Sleep
Gardening has been shown to have sleep-promoting effects on the body. Spending time in nature and getting some exercise can help regulate the body's natural sleep functions, leading to more and a better quality of sleep.
According to the University of Oxford, the natural circadian rhythm–your body’s sleep/wake cycle–can be disrupted by too much time indoors and by excessive use of screens. Getting outside is one of the best things you can do to maintain a healthy sleep schedule.
Additionally, because gardening is a relaxing and meditative activity, it can help to calm the mind and promote relaxation. Over time, this can improve the overall quality of your sleep.
Gardening Fosters Community
Gardeners are, overall, a friendly and welcoming group of people, and gardening is a wonderful way to connect with others and build a sense of community around a shared interest.
Shared community gardens, for example, bring together people of all ages and backgrounds to work towards a common goal of creating a beautiful and productive garden. They're also a wonderful way to get into gardening if you do not have your own outdoor space at home.
Working in a garden with others promotes teamwork and communication, as well as providing an opportunity to share knowledge, improve your skills, and celebrate your successes as part of a team.