Summer is the perfect time to get out there and enjoy your garden. Whether you have acres of rolling estate, or a tiny paved courtyard, make the most out of your outdoor space by growing flowers, fruit and vegetables – not only is it a pleasant way to spend your time, there are loads of other health benefits!
- Speeds up recovery – gardening can ease the pain associated with serious health conditions and help to restore motor and cognitive skills following accident, injury or illness. Several charities supporting those suffering from debilitating conditions such as cancer or stroke encourage their beneficiaries to get out and garden to aid their recovery.
- Can help people live longer – gardeners are an optimistic bunch, always planning ahead and planting things like trees which are likely to survive long after we’ve gone. Not only does this help with a more positive mental attitude, but the increase in light activity promotes longer living and better health.
- Protects the heart – we all know that staying active helps protect from heart disease or stroke, but it’s not always easy to persuade yourself to do exercise just for the sake of it. The garden provides an excellent opportunity for getting a light workout, while also giving something back once you are finished for the day!
- Reduces stress – mental health is becoming increasingly important and talked-about, which is fantastic news for those who struggle. Gardening can be a great way to help with conditions such as anxiety and stress, which in turn helps lower blood pressure and supports your immune system.
- Eases the effects of Dementia – there has been a lot of coverage in the media recently about trying to “Live Well with Dementia”, and gardening can be one way to help with that. Learning new skills, giving sufferers a chance to get outdoors, and the increase in sensory stimulation from birdsong and scents all promote well being in those living with Dementia, not to mention the mental stimulation of trying to remember when plants need pruning, watering or spraying!
- Enhances emotional wellbeing – happiness is hard to measure, but it’s usually tied in to positive self-esteem and a sense of satisfaction – both of which can be greatly enhanced by gardening. Completing a specific task, such as weeding or pruning, is very satisfying and provides a sense of control, which can be comforting. The natural rhythm of the gardening year, an awareness of the seasons, and a recycling of resources can all contribute to a general sense of contentment.
- Supports healthier eating – if you grow your own food, you’re likely to eat better which reduces the risk of diabetes and helps lower your BMI. The quantity and quality of the naturally occurring vitamins, minerals, antioxidants etc that make plant-foods so healthy also start to degrade the minute you harvest the crop, so if it only has to make the trip from garden to table it’s going to be even better for you than the same type of food bought from your supermarket, where it may have been picked and stored for up to a year before making it to your table!
- Keeps people mobile – it has been shown that gardeners have significantly better balance and are much less likely to fall than non-gardeners, and it’s also a good way to keep up your vitamin D levels which helps with keeping your bones nice and strong. Of course, over-doing it in the garden can result in suffering the next day, but taking it nice and steady will help rather than hinder! Of course, if you do have a strenuous day and end up suffering for it, your friendly local Chiropractor is always here to help you out!