Gardening is a Safe, Healthy Way to Beautify Your Yard and Add Veggies to Your Table
- Category: Health
- Published: Wednesday, 06 May 2020 08:32
- Joanne Wallenstein
The coronavirus pandemic has paused life as we know it and left families battling cabin fever while wishing for spring fever. With health clubs, schools and softball fields waiting to reopen, gardening’s popularity has sprouted as a safe, healthy and productive way to pass the time.
Growing fruits and vegetables to supplement our diets in times of crisis is a tried and true American tradition. Victory Gardens started in World War I, when Americans were asked to plant vegetable gardens to prevent food shortages. By the end of WWII, 40% of the country’s produce came from backyard gardens. Victory Gardens offered something tangible to work at and help the country at a time when many people felt helpless. Sound familiar? We may be fighting an invisible enemy right now, but it’s no coincidence that the spread of coronavirus has sparked a Victory Garden comeback.
Dig it! Gardening is good for the body…
The results of a multitude of research is now showing what gardeners have known for generations – that gardening is good for your health. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average American spends 93% of their life indoors – 87% in buildings and another 6% in automobiles – and that figure may rise even further thanks to COVID-19.
The benefits of being active outside are plentiful:
A Surprisingly Good Workout - A simple hour of gardening could help you to burn up to 330 calories. Pulling weeds and planting flowers can burn 200-400 calories per hour and mowing the lawn expends between 250-350 calories per hour.
Heart Healthy - According to studies, gardening can help reduce the risk of a heart attack or stroke. It has been found to be particularly beneficial for people 60-years-old and over, prolonging life by as much as 30%.
Reduces Stress - Gardening can also be a great stress reliever. Passing time caring for the flowers or vegetables you’ve grown releases endorphins, the hormone that helps to make people feel satisfied and relaxed.
Good for Your Mind, Too - In addition to the physical benefits, there has also been research that suggests engaging in a physical activity such as gardening can help lower the risk of developing dementia. Two separate studies that followed people in their 60s and 70s for up to 16 years found that those who gardened regularly had a 36% and 47% lower risk of dementia than non-gardeners.
During this time of limited movement, a garden is a place to keep our minds and bodies in shape. It’s a spot of land where you can show off our green thumb, or grow some great things to eat. And it gives you a chance to play in the dirt, no matter how old you are.