When picking out healthy hobbies football, swimming and other sports probably spring to mind first. Gardening may not be the obvious choice, but there are numerous health benefits in tending to your flowers and shrubs. Gardening takes you outside in the healthy fresh air and lets you bask in the glorious vitamin D rich sunshine too. Still not convinced? Read on for more reasons why gardening is great for your health.
Gardening… Improves Your Diet
Keen gardeners most likely grow some of their own fruits and vegetables already, but if you’re a gardening novice you can start simple by growing some tomato or potato plants to build up your confidence and gardening experience. Home grown vegetables are healthier as they’re usually grown organically without the use of any nasty chemicals or pesticides that seep into the vegetable flesh.
But the benefits don’t stop there! Vegetables grown in your own back garden taste better than those bought in the supermarket. Not to mention the sense of achievement you get from growing your own produce from seeds. You can save money with home grown fruit and vegetables too; a pack of seeds will only cost a pound or two – that’s a lot less than the cost of vegetables in the weekly grocery shop. If you enjoy growing and nurturing the plants it’s a win-win situation!
Gardening… Has Medicinal Benefits
As well as a vegetable garden a herb garden also makes for a healthier household. Fresh herbs not only improve the taste of food, but also have a wealth of health benefits. Here are just a few examples of the beneficial effects of some common garden herbs:
Peppermint tea is great for relieving indigestion and is easy to make, just add some of the mint leaves to a mug of hot water. The oils in peppermint soothe sore muscles too so if you’ve got an aching back crushing peppermint leaves and applying them to the sore area could help.
Rosemary aids oxygen flow to the brain, which enhances energy and concentration. Add rosemary to lamb, garlic or tomato based dishes for the perfect flavour pairing.
Thyme is good for warding off colds as it has antiseptic and antibacterial properties. It’s a handy herb to use in cooking too as the leaves are small so you don’t have to chop them up, just strip them straight off the stalks.
Lemon balm is another herb which can be brewed into tea and is a soothing way to settle the stomach.
You may already have some of these herb plants growing in your garden. If not it’s easy to mark out a small patch of ground for a herb garden and enjoy delicious healthy meals with home-grown fresh herbs.
Gardening… Is Good Exercise
Anyone who’s ever mown a lawn knows pushing a heavy lawnmower around the grass is good for getting the heart rate up! In fact, lots of gardening tasks are good for exercise. Shovelling compost for example or cutting down branches will have you working up a sweat. Even if you have a collection of power tools like chainsaws or electric hedge trimmers to make garden tasks quicker and easier, gardening is still an active pursuit. More fiddly gardening tasks like pruning or tying garden twine are also good for maintaining dexterity in your hands.
The benefits of gardening go on and on. If you’re a social butterfly gardening can be a great way to socialise especially if you get involved with community planting. On the other hand if you’re in need of quiet, peaceful relaxation gardening is great for that too. So if you’re lucky enough to have a garden, why not give it a bit of TLC and improve your health in the process? Even if you have no outdoor space, if we’ve inspired you to get outdoors and get planting there are other options to consider like local allotments and window boxes for balconies and terraces. Happy gardening!