Gardening to Improve your Health 1

When you think of the word gardening, do you cringe or start dreaming of digging in the dirt? Perhaps your answer depends upon your definition of gardening.

What is a garden?

Webster’s dictionary defines a garden as:

1a:  a plot of ground where herbs, fruits, flowers, or vegetables are cultivated

b:  a rich well-cultivated region

c:  a container (as a window box) planted with usually a variety of small plants

In general, any work done in your yard constitutes as gardening and is not limited to a vegetable garden. Though definitions and feelings about gardening vary between people, the benefits remain the same. These benefits can be grouped into three general categories: Beautification, Physical Health, and Spiritual Health.

Beautification

Touches of color from plants are eye-catching and add drama to bland outdoor spaces. An array of leafy shades of green accented with vibrant blooms around your house can soften its edges and help “nestle” it into the site. The architectural style of your home can also be complemented and enhanced through proper design of pathways, retaining walls and bed lines.  Adding any of these elements into your landscape will increase the value of the property and create a welcoming feeling for you and your guests. Even during winter, the texture and shadows from your landscaping are beautiful to behold.

Physical Health

Spending time in a garden has been found to help reduce stress and anxiety in those that partake in this outdoor activity on a regular basis. Keeping active in the yard helps you burn more calories, increases your strength and dexterity while improving your heart health. Eating clean and healthy fruits and vegetables also help improve heart health. Harvesting the bounty of your efforts and enjoying the freshest food possible rewards your body and spirit with healthy eating and self-satisfaction. A stress-free day spent working in the garden may also help you to fall asleep more quickly and give you dream-filled sleep. Just imagine the sweet dreams of you and your family enjoying your beautiful yard!

Spiritual Health

Time in the garden can be relaxing, restorative and balancing. Occasionally, caring for the yard may seem a bit overwhelming but once the chores are accomplished, you can sit back and enjoy the singing birds while a gentle breeze cools your brow. Being in the midst of a garden calms the soul. Sharing the joys and beauty of a garden with other people can also improve those relationships. Compassion for plants flows into more compassion for people and we can all use a little more compassion from time to time. Sharing your gardening successes enhances self-satisfaction, gives deeper meaning to your existence on earth and it causes a sense of gratitude.

May the joys of gardening abound in you this year and may the benefits gleaned be blessings beyond measure.