When we think about activities that boost our health and wellness, many of us immediately think of traditional exercise, like jogging or biking.
However, for those who aren’t exercise-inclined — or for those who want a change of pace — there’s another healthy alternative: Gardening. Gardening regularly is one of the healthiest things you can do for yourself, not to mention the environment (if you practice sustainable gardening).
Here are the four main reasons why gardening is so good for you:
TIME IN THE SUN
Though it’s important not to get sunburned, time in the sun is good for humans. Exposure to moderate amounts of sunlight helps the body create vitamin D. Unfortunately, as humans have moved indoors, their levels of vitamin D have declined. Some researchers have even theorized that vitamin D deficiency could be a global public health problem.
Wear a hat, loose but covering clothing, and some shades to protect yourself from the sun. Do your gardening outside of peak sunlight hours (between 10 and 2) to get some fresh air and vitamin D without the sunburn.
“Flow” is the state where we’re fully immersed in the activity we’re doing, and it’s extremely good for our health. Many people experience flow when gardening and tend to lose track of time because they are so focused on the task at hand.
DE-STRESSING WITH NATURE
In addition to the de-stressing associated with flow, gardening also offers a calming effect thanks to the presence of nature. Simply being in nature is known to reduce stress levels, as does coming into contact with plants and the earth.
Finally, all the sitting, standing, kneeling, bending over, scraping, digging and shoveling required for gardening can give you quite the workout! These types of movements offer a moderate level of aerobic exercise that, over the course of a few hours, can provide a major calorie burn.