Gardening falls into a category of activities that almost everyone is familiar with. Whether taking care of the house plants or growing vegetables in the outside garden, everyone has some basic knowledge about plant cultivation. Many people take a step further and may expand into more specific variations of gardening such as herb farming, water gardening, container gardening or flower propagating. Most people become interested in gardening because it’s relaxing and provides rewarding results.
Research proves that gardening is good for the body and soul. It promotes physical and mental health through relaxation and satisfaction. Most of all, health benefits of gardening are long lasting and are created by interacting with nature.
Gardening improves the fitness level through pushing, pulling, digging and lifting while working all the muscles in the body. Functional exercise, such as gardening, helps to build the body accustomed to performing real-life functions in real-life situations. This type of exercise integrates all the muscles into working together instead of isolating them to function independently. The body becomes toned and lean with added strength and vitality. This type of exercise also increases tenacity of the muscles in the back, arms and shoulders and resonates its results throughout the entire body.
Flexibility and Balance
The stature becomes more balanced and the posture more erect when regularly engaging in gardening and functional exercise. Over time, the body begins to crave the continuous movement and gardening becomes a part of daily routine leading to more flexible skeletal and muscular development and improvement. Gardening is especially beneficial for older adults as it provides enough moderate physical activity to keep them healthy without any strenuous movements. Water and flower gardening are recommended for the elderly as the hobby requires only mild mobility.
Sharpening the Senses
Our senses sharpen after an exercise. Because gardening requires continuous movement and serves as a form of exercise, the sense of smell, touch and taste is stimulated into a higher level. As we age, our senses slowly decline. Gardening can hinder the process and prompt the senses into another plane of perception. In addition, prolonged exposure to fresh air and smells of nature sharpens the senses as well.
Gardening leads to a deliberate mental focus. You take the time to set aside your problems for a while and concentrate on birds singing, trees rustling and listening to a bubbling stream. You set aside your stressors and begin to relax. The sounds of nature help us to detach ourselves from every day stressors and contemplate the present moment. Additionally, exposure to sunlight releases serotonin; a chemical that keeps our brain balanced and promotes the sense of wellbeing.
Gardening is often referred to as a form of art. When tending to the plants and flowers, we connect with earth and nature, and our creative juices begin to flow powered by our mind and spirit. We leave the technology behind and concentrate on melting the stress away. A garden is like a blank canvas that can be filled with all kinds of wonderful pictures and added to over time.
Because gardening is an outdoor activity, it means you will enjoy the sunlight and fresh air. You will also be occupied physically strengthening your body and becoming more fit. This type of activity benefits the heart, builds stamina and endurance. As your heart becomes stronger and healthier, the risk of a stroke or a heart attack is significantly reduced. Your cardiovascular health is improved and your longevity is prolonged.
Along with improved health status, the sexual stamina is also positively affected. The benefits are especially noticeable when partners garden together and both enjoy the activity as a team. The sense of relaxation and contentment brings partners closer to each other and triggers more romantic endeavors.
Gardening is a form of activity every member of the family can enjoy. Special projects or those on a larger scale can be accomplished with the entire family’s participation. Combined with a relaxing dinner by the fire, it is a sure way to engage each member of the family for an entreating and relaxing day outdoors.
For many people, gardening is a solitary experience often combined with meditation and focus on relaxation. Connecting with Mother Nature is frequently favored by people who live busy lives and find their solace in their garden. For them, it is a way of disconnecting themselves from their jobs and responsibilities and focus on their thoughts and feelings. They can retreat to their garden for relief and decompress themselves from daily tensions, pressures and burdens imposed on them by others.
There is nothing more stressful then worry about finances. People who choose to participate in vegetable gardening can use the fruits of their labor to prepare healthy meals and save money at the same time. That factor alone greatly contributes to sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. Knowing that gardening helps saving money is a significant stress reliever, and it influences our outlook on life.
Types of Gardening
As each gardening experience is unique, there are many different types of interacting with nature in this form. The most common choices of plant cultivation include the following:
Many people choose herb gardening as an outlet and a source of natural stress relief. Culinary arts lovers grow their herbs to use them for cooking. Both hobbies contribute to a healthy lifestyle and improved dietary habits. Herb gardening also provides medicinal advantages as many herbs can be used as natural home remedies for various ailments.
Rose gardening is often chosen by people who prefer a specific type of horticultural activity. Roses are grown for their beauty and fragrance, and because they are hard to grow, avid gardeners choose the challenge and reach a great sense of victory when they see superb results.
The sound and sight of water draws experienced gardeners to create aquatic wonders in their own yards. Natural ponds and water spots are no longer required. Man-made water gardens can be accomplished with the help of concrete, plastic or anything else that will hold water. Elaborate combinations of rock and lighting can produce beautiful results in the form of small fountains, pools and waterfalls. It is an eco-system of its own and can be home to many plants, fish and aquatic creatures.
Cactus Gardening (Xeriscape Gardening)
This type of gardening is promoted in regions with scares water supplies and those where water conservation is of concern. Terms typically used are drought-tolerant landscaping or smart landscaping. The plants usually planted are cacti and succulents. Xeriscaping is appropriate for people with limited mobility as it requires minimal care aside from occasional weeding and mulching. However, the results can be impressive if creativity is used in the process.
Often chosen by people with a creative flare, topiary gardening is a form of true art as it requires imagination and skill. It is a horticultural practice of training the shrubs and plants to grow into ornamental shapes. It is often called living sculpture art, and it requires plenty of time and attention to detail. Elaborate results can be achieved from this form of artful expression.
This style of gardening is suitable for urban areas where planting in the ground may not be possible. Many people successfully practice container gardening on their terraces and patios bringing the nature back to the city creating an oasis they can escape to in their own homes.
Besides appreciating the beauty of the flowers and their aesthetic value, this type of gardening is often cultivated for aromatherapy. Lavender, for example, is known to induce relaxation and diminish anxiety.
Flower gardening is generally practiced for its decorative purposes, but can be combined with other types of gardens for superb visual effects and function such as flower and herb gardens.
Numerous people love organic vegetable gardening as it supplies the source of healthy food and provides a great sense of accomplishment when harvesting. Vegetable gardening is favored by families as the experience connects the family to the natural cycles of growth and renewal. It also reduces the environmental impact transporting and storing the food. It contributes to family’s wellbeing and creates memories for years to come.
Gardening is credited with health and healing. Its benefits have been known for centuries, but in recent years the idea has been expanded into many different forms and even recommended by physicians as a form of therapy for patients experiencing anxiety, depression or elevated stress syndromes. Many people actively participate in community gardening helping to beautify their neighborhoods and making new friends at the same time. Urban gardening programs are offered for at-risk teens, nursing homes and homeless shelters.
Besides the benefits outlined above, gardening brings the entire communities together for a good cause creating the sense of belonging and acceptance regardless of age or race. Harvested fruits and vegetables are distributed between all participants and flower gardens enhance the aesthetics of the town for everyone to enjoy.