May 7, 2020
The Benefits of Gardening
Many Floridians are discovering or rediscovering the joys of gardening as we stay home and stay healthy. Did you know that gardening is actually really good for your health in addition to growing fresh produce? Gardening activities such as raking, weeding, and pruning provide moderate exercise to keep gardeners healthy and fit. Even going out in the garden or landscape to water or harvest will increase your outdoor activity time and up your step count for the day.
It has been shown that gardening activities are an effective way to maintain weight and improve cardiovascular health. Moderately intensive activities such as gardening for 2.5 hours per week can reduce the risk for heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, and other diseases.
Gardening can also relieve stress. Now that many of us are even more glued to our computer screens while we're in "alternative work locations" (AWL's is a new acronym we are all using now), we need that connection to green space and nature for stress relief. An analysis in 2016 researchers found that gardening and being in nature reduced symptoms of anxiety. Other reports have seen a decrease in reported stress and mood disturbances in gardeners when compared to other populations.
If you are vegetable gardening and are having success, you are probably eating healthier, too. It is a lot easier to incorporate fresh produce into your diet when the garden is only steps away from your kitchen. Picking a few kale leaves and a few cherry tomatoes to go alongside your meal really amps up the nutrition. It also gives you a sense of accomplishment.
The garden can provide a positive influence on the day. When you pick some vegetables, herbs, or flowers it gives you something positive to share with your family or friends. With the all the negative input in our lives you can choose to see the good in your garden. Teaching family and friends the joys of gardening creates memories that last a lifetime. You never know where or when those seeds of knowledge will germinate. Happy Mother's day to all the moms who shared their gardening passion with us.
-- Wendy Wilber