by Gemma Hurst
You'll eat better
Studies show that people who grow their own produce will have a healthier diet. The obvious reason for this is that you're growing your own organic fruit, vegetables and salads to eat. Root vegetables, carrots, tomatoes, zucchini and lettuce are all great starting points and are packed full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that are vital to immune system health, good weight and the prevention of other diseases. But it goes a step beyond this in that people (particularly children) become interested about the food they're growing and eating. They are more likely to take an active interest in food, experiment with new recipes and learn about the health benefits rather than becoming stuck in a rut of bland, convenience food that lacks in nutritional value.
It's great exercise
If you spend a few hours out in the garden you'll have had quite a workout. Hauling watering cans and pushing wheelbarrows is a form of resistance training not dissimilar to lifting weights. Lawn mowing and digging weeds is great cardio and bending and stretching in order to prune plants is a good way to strengthen muscles. In short, gardening is a good form of exercise that is more gentle (and some would argue, more productive) than traditional workouts like jogging or gym sessions meaning it is ideal exercise for anyone regardless of age and ability.
It's good for mental health
As well as being a physical workout, many studies indicate that gardening can actually be a good way to keep your brain active too. Some link the repetitive yet sophisticated brain activity associated with gardening to the prevention of neurological disease such as dementia. With exercise and mood also being directly linked, the physical exertion of gardening a great way to get feel-good brain chemicals circulating throughout the body making you feel pumped up and positive. This combined with a healthy diet is a great way to maintain good mental as well as physical health and leave you feeling happy and well as healthy.
It's financially beneficial
Money worries are amongst one of the highest causes of depression, stress and low mood in the Western world, particularly during times of economic turbulence like we are currently facing. Growing your own food is a great way to eat well for less which will reduce stress and anxiety. You might think that the outlay for a vegetable garden (including tools, soil and plants) seems a lot, but consider how much you spend on shop bought food then think about just how much produce you could reap from re-flowering plants like tomatoes. Best of all, you have the satisfaction of knowing that your produce is organic and untreated by pesticides and other chemicals.
It's good for the soul
For centuries, people have considered being close to nature as a spiritual experience. The peaceful, natural environment of the garden promotes calm and the repetitive nature of gardening in this setting can be a perfect chance to unwind and contemplate. For this reason many hospitals and rehabilitation clinics offer gardening therapy to those who are ill or suffering with issues such as addiction. Vegetable gardening in particular is very rewarding and the act of planting and maintaining a crop then having an end result is a great way to boost self esteem in those who are lacking it. It can also be a very social pastime as as humans naturally thrive from interaction, it can be a good for the soul to make friends in this way.
Gemma Hurst is a freelance writer, who worked for many years in business and finance. After becoming a mother, she turned to writing to make a living and she now pens articles on as many different topics - from news and current affairs to money matters.
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