Gardening is more than just a hobby, and offers a number of lifelong health benefits. This highly therapeutic activity involves lots of movement and exercise, and works all your major muscle groups as you perform tasks such as raking, digging, and planting. Better yet, gardening allows you to produce fresh, healthy foods that drive weight loss and improve overall health.
National Gardening Exercise Day is observed every year on June 6. In honor of this highly popular hobby, take a moment to recognize the many important health benefits associated with gardening.
- Exposure to sunshine. Gardening outdoors increases your exposure to sunshine and vitamin D. Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium, and promotes healthy bone growth. Try limiting your exposure to direct sunlight to between 15 and 30 minutes per day to lower your risk for sunburn and skin cancer.
- Fresh air. Spending time outdoors in fresh air increases your oxygen intake, which increases serotonin. A rise in serotonin levels can improve your mood and help you feel more refreshed and relaxed.
- Weight loss. Gardening involves several aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities that burn calories and improve heart rate and circulation. Mowing, hoeing, and reaping are examples of gardening activities that will help you stay fit.
- More savings. Gardening helps reduce your grocery bill, since you’ll be spending less on fruits, vegetables, herbs, and other produce. Save money by growing as many of your favorite foods as possible in your garden.
- Flavorful produce. Gardening ensures you get access to fresh fruits and vegetables the moment they’re ripe for the taking. Most produce available in grocery stores are picked and prepared for distribution before given a chance to fully ripen, which decreases their nutritional value. For an extra boost in flavor, vitamins, and nutrients, grow fruits and vegetables when they’re in season. Find out when produce is in season in Florida.
- Organic options. Gardening helps you avoid pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, and other chemicals often applied to commercial produce. Maintaining your own garden allows you to grow produce organically without the use of harmful chemicals that can interfere with your overall health and wellness.
- Stress relief. Activities like gardening naturally reduce stress and anxiety due to factors like fresh air, sunshine, and a sense of accomplishment. Gardening naturally reduces the stress hormone cortisol, which has been linked to weight gain.
- Improved sleep. Gardening promotes better sleep, which helps regulate your hormones and reduces the risk for illness and disease — including cancer. Sleeping better at night also promotes weight loss and regulates eating patterns.
- Increased confidence. Gardening requires lots of time, dedication, and hard work, but can make you feel highly accomplished when you finally start seeing the fruits (and vegetables!) of your labor. Gardening can lead to a sense of reward and increases your confidence and self-esteem.
- Quality time with loved ones. Gardening with your friends, family, and loved ones encourages healthy living as it gets everyone outdoors and excited about nutrition. Recruit your family to help in the garden, and assign special tasks to certain individuals to make the activity fun and enjoyable for everyone.
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