I know it is still Winter, but Spring is around the corner so I thought I’d plant the seed now (pun intended!).
As a kid I LOVED vegetables, still do. Full credit goes to my mother and her green thumb. She planted a massive garden with everything from cucumbers to cantaloupes. When we wanted a snack, she would say, “go out to the garden”. No junk food for us, we were out picking peas and pulling those cherry tomatoes and blackberries right off the vine, yum. She did us a favor, not only did we eat healthy snacks, but she got us outdoors in the sunshine enjoying nature.
Turns out my mom was onto something, research shows that starting a garden improves health and well-being in a number of ways.
Benefits of Gardening
- Gardening burns calories. It’s a physical activity, and burns about 330 calories an hour. Gardening is considered a moderate intensity exercise equivalent to playing doubles tennis or walking at speed of 3.5 mph. Who knew?!!
- You’ll eat healthier. Gardening is linked to better diets because it encourages people to eat better. Research show those who grow their own food have a greater preference, and increased consumption of fruits and vegetable. You may also enjoy cooking more as you and your family try out new recipes with your backyard bounty.
- Bonding through veggies. According to a study published in the Journal of Community Health, 42 families involved in a community garden where they were learning organic gardening techniques said they felt more united and bonded. The researchers theorized that time spent working together in the garden increased family unity. I agree, some of my most cherished memories are in the garden with my mother. We talked for hours, while planting, watering and picking the vegetables. Outdoors without all the distractions, you interact together, there is time to connect and engage, something that electronics and watching tv together don’t always allow for.
- It eases stress. Gardening puts us in the outdoors with nature which benefits our mental health. Spending time outdoors in a natural environment helps us to feel less stress, reduces symptoms of depression, and enhances concentration and attention by allowing us to recover from mental fatigue. A small study from Wageningen University and Research Center in The Netherlands comparing the stress-relieving impact of reading with that of gardening found that gardening had a more physiologically soothing effect.