Improving Your Health Through Gardening

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Many people enjoy a good pastime, and take pleasure during the spring and summer months when they get to go in the garden. Taking time out to do some gardening is much healthier than you think, burning anything up to 600 calories an hour and boasting a large number of health benefits too. So if you are on the lookout for a new hobby, gardening could be the one for you.

Your body needs some looking after, and did you know that gardening is beneficial to your body inside and out? It can reduce depression, loneliness, anxiety and stress, aiding your general health and wellbeing.

Simply heading out to cut the grass can burn up to 350 calories and raking leaves can burn 450 calories. Putting the two together one afternoon is the equivalent of a gym session only with the benefits of being outdoors.  Just because you want to stay fit and healthy does not mean that you have to pay out for expensive gym equipment or memberships.

So what does it do for your body?

  • Head – lower levels of stress hormones mean better sleep patterns and an all-round better mental health.
  • Heart – naturally doing physical activity improves the condition of the heart building endurance and increasing stamina which reduces risks of stroke and heart attack.
  • Back – constantly bending, twisting, lifting involved during gardening strengthens muscles and tones too.
  • You will also see the benefits in your arms, abdominals, bottom, thighs, stomach and even your hands.

Looking after your physical and mental health is vitally important and gardening can be as good for you as jogging or swimming. You use all your muscle groups to dig, push the lawn mower and do the weeding, not to mention that spending time doing your garden can improve endurance, flexibility, risk of blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and obesity. The natural environment around you is known to relax you and reduce any feelings of pain and anxiety that you may be suffering.

The garden is a real booster to the immune system as the direct exposure to the dirt and germs from the plants and soil improves your body’s ability to fight off more common harmful bacteria, whilst the soil also contains a natural anti-depressant making you feel happier. This is especially good for younger children as it could increase their immunity in later life. So if you take the hobby up yourself involve your children or encourage grandparents that garden let them help. Of course, being outside also increases your body’s intake of vitamin D which increases your calcium intake too.

There have been studies that even suggest that gardening on a daily basis can help to reduce your risk of dementia by up to 36%. Flowers are good to be around on a daily basis as they are a natural mood changer having an impact on your happiness, longer term effects on moods and allow stronger and more intimate connections between individuals.

Gardening can even be good for those who are already suffering with mental health issues. A touch of gardening or a walk through a blossoming garden can be hugely therapeutic.

If you do find that during gardening work you suffer with excessive pressure on your joints or back, don’t forget that your Health Shield Health Cash Plan can help you prevent and manage the aches to make gardening more enjoyable. Check your plan and chosen practitioner to ensure you are covered for physiotherapy and health and wellbeing before receiving treatment.

 

Sources:

http://www.saga.co.uk/magazine/health-wellbeing/exercise-fitness/gardening-for-health

http://www.theenglishgarden.co.uk/news-and-events/news/11-surprising-health-benefits-of-gardening/

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/apr/10/gardening-is-good-for-physical-and-mental-health

https://www.organiclesson.com/6-wonderful-health-benefits-of-gardening/

http://gardeninggonewild.com/?p=27941

http://edition.cnn.com/2011/HEALTH/07/08/why.gardening.good/index.html