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Gardening - Good for Body, Mind & Spirit

Gardening is a great way to eat healthier, especially if you grow organic produce. People who garden eat a lot more vegetables (and fresher) than those who don't; and a plant-forward diet has been associated with increased benefits to the heart, reduced cancer risk, and longevity. Also, gardening is great exercise for the whole body because it uses every muscle group. You bend, squat, lunge, and lift. You can burn as many calories gardening as you can working out in a gym. If you have back pain or other physical problems, you can still benefit from gardening. Try raised beds and/or use a stool when working in the garden.

Gardening can help lower your stress and anxiety levels and lift your mood. So, there’s a benefit to your mind as well. Just the routine of watering and weeding is soothing to the mind and can relieve stress. Research tells us that the bacterium in soil has anti-inflammatory and immunoregulatory properties that could help protect us from stress and anxiety. It may also stimulate serotonin production, which is the “happy hormone”. Gardening is also great exercise for your brain because you need to plan and organize your garden long before you plant anything. Certain plants don’t grow well together, and crop rotation is very important for pest control. So, if you planted tomatoes in bed 1 last year, you would plant them in another bed this year. Keep diagrams each year of which crops you planted and in which beds. Even during the growing season, you need to observe the plants to see how they’re growing. You'll need to constantly solve problems and take good notes to reference next year when planning that year's garden. These tasks are all great exercises for your brain.

Gardening is great for your spirit too. Just being outdoors, getting your hands into the soil, and nurturing the plants, can help you feel connected to the earth. Working with nature and the elements to produce your food is a wonderous experience.


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