In case you haven’t noticed, society as a whole is busier than ever. Myriads of articles are published on a daily basis about how Americans are stressed out and need to take time to slow down, unplug, and appreciate the little things. Studies show that getting outside and enjoying nature is therapeutic, and helps you to reset and reboot. Gardening is a great outdoor activity that everyone should give a try! Gardening has a therapeutic quality that can decrease stress, increase physical activity, and improve mental health. Need a little more convincing to get out and get your hands dirty? Check out the known physical and mental health benefits of gardening.
· Stress Relief – we live in a society that is requiring directed attention to technology. This capacity gets used up and we become irritable, error-prone, distracted, and stressed out. However, this type of fatigue is reversible. When outdoors the rhythms of a natural environment and soothing nature of gardening tasks are sources of effortless attention.
· Better mental health – gardening can even improve the symptoms of depression! A study conducted in Norway focused on individuals diagnosed with depression and persistent low-mood spent 6 hours a week gardening. After 3 months, half of the participants had experienced a measureable improvement in their depression symptoms.
· Exercise – gardening gets you outdoors to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine! Gardening is not the same as going to the gym; however, digging, planting, weeding, and other repetitive tasks that require strength or stretching are excellent forms of low-impact exercise. Gardening is a great activity for those who find vigorous physical activity to be difficult. Those who are older and may have developed disabilities, or suffer from chronic pain may find gardening very enjoyable.
· Brain health – there are some studies and research that suggest physical activity associated with gardening can help lower the risk of developing dementia. If individuals have already started to experience mental decline, gardening can be therapeutic.
· Nutrition – the food that you grow yourself can be the freshest food you eat! In general, people who make an effort to grow their own food are making a conscious decision to be healthier. Children that garden, or are raised by parents who garden are more likely to eat more fruits and vegetables and are more adventurous with the foods they eat.
If you would like to give gardening a try, register to be a part of the Community Garden at Nesmith Park! Registration cost is $75. This includes a garden plot, gardening classes, and weekly work sessions on Tuesday evenings at 6pm.