At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, when the self-isolation regime left millions of people unemployed. Headlines predicted food shortages, many concerned citizens took shovels and rakes in their hands. All public events and gatherings were prohibited. People were alarmed by the sight of empty shelves in grocery stores. It was necessary to do something to keep the schoolchildren at home. A result is a record number of coronavirus orchards and vegetable gardens. Within a few weeks, seeds, seedlings, and fruit trees were completely sold out online and in horticultural stores and markets.
As it turns out, wanting to work in the garden or vegetable garden is a great idea, whether you’re in a crisis or not because it’s one of the healthiest things to do.
Outdoor work helps the body fight disease
In fact, we are more like plants than we can imagine. Our body is capable of photosynthesis – the process by which plants obtain food for themselves using solar energy. Under the influence of sunlight, our skin produces an essential nutrient: vitamin D.
It is estimated that in half an hour outdoors, the human body can produce between 8,000 and 50,000 international units (IU) of vitamin D, depending on your skin colour and how much clothing you are wearing.
Vitamin D is literally needed for hundreds of bodily functions, and strengthening bones and the immune system are just two of its most famous effects.
If you don’t get enough vitamin D, your risk of psoriasis, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes and dementia (dementia) increases.
Of course, it is important to remember that excessive exposure to sunlight is also unsafe – it can provoke the development of skin cancer.
Gardening helps preserve memory as you get older
Researchers in Korea studied how working for 20 minutes in a garden would affect patients with dementia. Over time, scientists found an increase in memory-related markers in both men and women.
Another study from 2014. concluded that using gardening to improve mental health may be an effective treatment for patients with dementia.
And in fact, in the Netherlands and Norway, people with different forms of dementia often participate in the revolutionary Greencare programs, where they spend most of the day working on farms and gardens.
Gardening boosts your mood
According to scientists, garden work improves mood and self-esteem – it is a natural antidepressant. When people regularly spend some time in the garden, their anxiety levels decrease and they feel less restless and depressed. Working outdoors improves the perception of life and creates a sense of pleasure.
In 2011, a study was published that examined the effects of gardening on depressed patients. The researchers noted the participants’ improved mood and many other aspects of mental health. And many of the positive changes persisted long after the study was completed.
Gardening soothes after stressful events
After experiencing a stressful situation, the researchers asked one group of volunteers to read in a relaxed environment, and another to work in the garden. The scientists then measured the level of the stress hormone cortisol in the blood of all participants in the experiment. They found that the horticultural group recovered from the stress better than the reading group. And the “gardeners” improved their mood significantly more than the “readers”.
Gardening is a rehabilitation method for people with different types of addiction
In fact, horticultural therapy has been around for millennia. It probably won’t surprise you that plant work is part of many addiction treatment programs. Working in the garden creates positive emotions in patients recovering from alcohol and drug addiction.
Gardening strengthens muscles, promotes healthy sleep, and helps maintain optimal weight
Gardening is an exercise. It’s a whole body exercise to remove all the nasty weeds with a lawnmower.
For example, hilling and mowing grass can be categorized as low to medium intensity exercise. Digging holes and cutting branches are considered vigorous exercises.
Either way, gardening involves all major muscle groups in the body. You will especially feel it when you wake up with a pulling pain all over your body the next morning.
Studies have shown that such exercise can offset age-related weight gain and obesity in children.
And scientists from the University of Pennsylvania found that people who practice gardening generally have no trouble with sleeping – they sleep more than 7 hours a day.
So, if you are not a fan of gym or jogging, instead of buying yoga mat and a set of weights, get yourself a good quality garden hose, rake and gloves and start your gardening right now!
Gardening gives you the opportunity to spend a lot of time outdoors in pleasant surroundings. Also to socialize with other gardeners, and take care of yourself.
Planting and harvesting, digging and hilling are all beneficial to your physical strength, heart health, and helps maintain your immune system, optimal body weight and proper sleep.
Gardening also gives you a sense of empowerment, empowerment, boosts your mood, and helps you overcome stressful situations.
Regardless of whether you have a large plot or a small flower bed in front of your house, manual labour in the fresh air and a healthy diet will benefit you.