Thursday, June 9, 2016

Why You Should Take Advantage Of Gardening Season

Usually in the spring after a long winter, we all long to see nature turn green again.  The leaves budding from trees, the green grass beneath our feet, flowers blooming and perfuming the air and growing fresh fruits and vegetables to eat are all things we look forward to.

Even more than the joy of experiencing nature and greenery, being outside has many health benefits.  In Ayurveda, going out in nature for a daily walk is considered a healing modality.  Ayurveda teaches that a daily walk enhances digestion, improves mood and is good exercise and movement for the body.  Gardening can do these things too.

Gardening is a good form of exercise.  There are many different movements in gardening. While it won't suffice for cardiovascular fitness, but the digging, planting, weeding, and other repetitive tasks that require strength or stretching are all nice forms of low-impact exercise.

Gardening is also good for one's mental health.  First, a study in the Netherlands suggested that gardening can minimize stress better than other relaxing leisure activities.  Specifically, after completing a stressful task, two groups of people were instructed to either read indoors or garden for 30 minutes. The group that gardened reported feeling in a better mood than the reading group, and they also had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

Second, as we as a society continue to direct our attention to the constant barrage of cell phones, emails and media, and our minds become exhausted from the continual focus and attention.  Signs of being exhausted mentally from overusing our attention and focus is irritation, making sloppy mistakes, distraction and stressed out.  Gardening requires a more passive attention that allows our mind to rest and rejuvenate.  We enjoy our surroundings, do repetitive tasks and let our mind rest.

 Gardening will help us develop healthier eating habits.  People who garden tend to eat more fruits and vegetables.  The produce from a garden is the freshest and tastiest, and this alone encourages one to eat healthier.  More importantly, after investing time and energy in a garden, people feel connected to the endeavor.  They appreciate the work and effort that goes into growing vegetables, and they value vegetables more.  Gardeners tend to be willing to experiment and try new foods too.

Gardening is one of life's simple pleasures. Even if one doesn't have a green thumb or a lot of gardening experience, digging in the dirt, planting and nurturing plant life is good for both your mind and body.  With summer just around the corner, it is the perfect time to get started.

Stay healthy & well,

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