If you do only one thing… Garden!
Gardening is one of those rare multiple-benefit activities, providing endurance, strength, and flexibility activities all in one. How? Picture an early spring day when you’re preparing your vegetable garden for the first planting. Digging in the dirt builds muscle strength as well as endurance. So does loading shovels of compost and top soil into the wheel borrow, wheeling it over to the garden, dumping it, and turning the earth over as you work in it. When the time comes to plant the tomato and squash seedlings, you bend and stretch to get them in the ground.
Some other benefits of Gardening?
Here they are:
Cutting the grass with a walking mower provides a great endurance workout.
Raking leaves provides flexibility and endurance benefits
Hauling compost, dirt, and weeds is a good strength-building workout.
Pulling weeds is a wonderful way to stretch muscles stiff from too much sitting.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, gardening is compared to “moderate cardiovascular exercise.” Gardening 30 to 45 minutes a day can burn 150 to 300 calories. This isn’t just standing there watering the flowers, but weeding, digging, hoeing, raking and planting. And there's nothing like being at one with nature to help create a calming, relaxed state of mind while you let go of the pressures and anxiety of everyday life.
Gardening may be good exercise, but it also is good for the mind. Many gardeners view their hobby as the perfect antidote to the modern world.
In a recent study in the Netherlands they found that gardening can fight stress even better than other relaxing leisure activities. In the study, after completeing a stressful task, two groups of people were instructed to either read indoors or garden for 30 minutes. Afterward, the group that gardened reported being in a better mood than the reading group, and they also had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
The effortless attention of gardening may even help improve depression. In a study conducted in Norway, people who had been diagnosed with depression and persistent low mood spent six hours a week growing flowers and vegetables. After three months, half of the participants had experienced a measurable improvement in their depression symptoms. There mood even continued to improve after the gardening program ended.
And just think if your gardening includes growing your own fresh fruits and vegetables! The food you grow yourself is the freshest and healthiest food you can eat. Studies have shown that gardeners eat more fruits and vegetables than their peers. People who are growing food just tend to be healthier. Maybe in the grocery store you will pass up buying that tomato or yellow squash. But in your garden, after planting the seed or plants, watering and caring for it, you are actually excited to finally be able to eat the red ripe tomato. They even taste better when they come from your own yard and you know without a doubt that they are truly organic with no pesticide residue.
Don’t have a lot of room or a yard? You can do gardening in as little space as a planter box or 5 gallon bucket. I personally have benefitted greatly by gardening over the years. Gardening has been a great stress reliever for me as well as a form of meditation. If you are not sure what I am talking about, you need to try it out for yourself. The only way to truly know is to experience it yourself.
Need another garden idea for your small space? Check out this Garden System that you can do with only 15 feet of space. Check it out here!
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