The garden is more than a place for plants and it offers us much more than aesthetic value. As it turns out, there is something to the old adage, “You reap what you sow” and the health benefits of gardening feed mind, body and soul.
We know that regular physical activity helps to improve overall health and fitness, and reduces risk for many chronic diseases. For those aged 18-64, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity exercise each week and muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week.
Let’s face it – working in the garden IS physical exercise. So just a half hour per day of all that raking, planting, pushing the wheel barrow, digging, weeding, hauling mulch, moving pots, and pushing a mower can add up to a real workout!
In fact, research published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine shows gardening can cut the risk of a heart attack or stroke and prolong life by 30%, especially in those aged 60+.
In addition, increased risk of heart attack has been linked to those with low vitamin D levels, so working outside can contribute to the adequate amounts of sunlight we need to reap those vitamin D-boosting benefits!
Nutritionists advise that whenever we can choose food that is closer to the earth, we are making better choices.
The less food has been processed or preserved means it contains more of the valuable nutrients our body needs. We can’t get any closer than picking some fresh fruit, veggies or herbs from our own backyard!
Easy access to fresh, nutritional foods can influence caloric intake by making it convenient to make better food choices that help us to maintain a healthier weight.
“Backyard gardening can inspire you to take an interest in the origins of your food and make better choices about what you put on your plate. When you grow your own food, you savor it more because of the effort it took to get to the table.”
Dr. Helen Delichatsios, Internist at Massachusetts General Hospital
In one study, gardeners were found to have a lower body mass index when compared to non-gardeners, on average a difference of 11 pounds less for female gardeners, and 16 pounds less for male gardeners.
There is so much about nature that is proven to improve our mental well-being. Simply being in nature or the presence of flowers is known to reduce stress and improve our mood. Just the presence of plants can help kids to learn better, remove toxins in our indoor and outdoor environment, help us to heal faster, concentrate better, be more productive, and even promotes compassion for one another.
“Yes, in the poor man’s garden grow far more than herbs and flowers—kind thoughts, contentment, peace of mind and joy for weary hours.”
Join The Movement
Studley Flower Gardens is proud to be an official sponsor of Plant Something NH, a program of the New Hampshire Plant Growers Association and part of a national grassroots campaign to promote public awareness of the health, environmental and economic benefits of plants.
Watch our Facebook Page for more details to follow on our Plant Something NH Day celebration event! For more information about Plant Something NH, visit PlantSomethingNH.org
My Pro Tip:
A kitchen garden is easy to grow and manageable, even for the novice gardener. I encourage you to explore the health benefits of gardening by starting simple and planting basics for making a fresh salad or quick snack. If you are tight on space or if you prefer a movable feast, kale or loose-leaf lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, pole beans, and even garlic will do very well in containers.
Spice things up by potting common herbs to flavor your favorite dishes, such as basil, rosemary, parsley, oregano, chives, and dill.
A strawberry pot will accommodate several plants and is a simple and fun way for kids to experiment with growing their own food and to enjoy the fruits of their labor!
You’ll find everything you need to get started, including pro advice, at our Garden Center. Ask us about our container CITRUS trees! Pick them up now and keep them right in the pot for an easy transition to the patio when the weather is right!
Visit our Garden Center Inventory for a full list of available edibles!
See you at Studley’s!