Growing your own vegetables is a great way to combat inequities in the food system, and it’s also a fun hobby. But did you know gardening can also be therapeutic?

Gardening has a long history of being used as therapy. The roots of Horticulture Therapy go back to the late 1700’s when Benjamin Rush, an American physician and Declaration of Independence signer, documented the positive effects that garden settings had on his patients.

1. It’s a form of exercise

As gardening requires walking, raking and weeding, it’s a great way to elevate your heart rate. It also offers opportunities to strengthen the arms, legs, shoulders and back. In addition, bending, stretching and twisting to reach for plants, tools and containers can improve balance and flexibility.

A study comparing gardening to reading as a stress-relieving activity found that gardeners had lower levels of cortisol in the blood. This is because physical movement stimulates the brain and creates positive feelings.

When it comes to gardening, it’s easy to forget that it’s actually a form of exercise. Just like any other exercise, it’s important to warm up and stretch beforehand. For instance, if you’re going to be lifting heavy items such as bags of mulch or topsoil, break them down into repetitions so that you can lift them safely and without straining your back. Also, make sure that you always garden with a buddy or take breaks if necessary to avoid overexertion.

2. It’s a social activity

Gardening can be a social activity, whether done alone or with others. It can be a great way to connect with other people, especially if you join a community garden. Studies have shown that gardening can reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation.

Aside from making social connections, gardening is also a form of exercise that promotes health and wellness. For example, research shows that gardeners are more likely to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables. It’s also a great way to combat food inequities.

There’s something magical about watching a seed sprout into a plant. Gardening is a full-spectrum sensory experience, with vibrant colors to see, buzzing insects to hear, different smells and textures to touch, and the delicious taste of the fruits or veggies you grow. It’s this sense of wonder that can boost one’s self-esteem and help to improve concentration skills. This is particularly true for older adults, as gardening has been shown to decrease the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s by 36%.

3. It’s a hobby

Gardening can be a fun and relaxing hobby for anyone of any age. It can also be a rewarding experience when you are able to see the fruits of your labor. You can enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables from your garden or try new herbs and spices that you may have never tried before.

Research shows that gardening helps to relieve stress. It decreases levels of cortisol, which can cause irritability, headaches, stomach aches, and heart problems. In fact, a study compared people who were assigned to read and those who were given the opportunity to garden and found that gardeners had lower cortisol levels.

It is also a great way to get some sun exposure. Vitamin D is vital to your health, and a moderate amount of time in the sun is good for your bones, heart, and brain. This activity is especially beneficial for older adults because it can help reduce the risk of dementia.

4. It’s a stress reliever

As a hobby that involves both the arms and legs, gardening is an activity that can help people to meet their recommended physical activity levels. Additionally, it has been scientifically proven to be an effective stress reliever. Stress can lead to a number of illnesses and can worsen pre-existing conditions. Gardening can help to reduce stress levels and can also improve mood.

Research has shown that people who spend time in gardens have more positive feelings towards nature than those who do not. This is due to the fact that gardening provides a sense of purpose and a feeling of accomplishment. Moreover, it can be a fun family activity that can make people feel good about themselves.

Studies have also found that people who garden often have longer attention spans. This is because they are able to focus on the task at hand and are not distracted by other things. This can be beneficial for those who have ADHD or similar problems.

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