The Surprising Health Benefits of Gardening

This is a guest post by Nisha Sharma

If getting a garden started has ever been an idea you have entertained, there is no better time than now to start thinking about what you need to do to plan one out. Gardening and the associated landscaping work involved is an excellent way to get started on a healthier you- in more ways than one. Even if you are already in shape, you can most definitely reap the benefits of gardening in other ways as well.

Yard work, in general, is a great way to add to your daily step count and can influence a variety of other choices you can make to improve upon your overall fitness, and choices you make relating to your diet. Plus, you can even save money in the long run through the cultivation of your own produce.

Calories Burned in the Garden

The average woman between the ages of 30 and 50 will burn an average 1800 calories a day just going about their day at a fairly sedentary pace. A man will burn approximately 2300 calories, although these numbers are highly dependent upon weight, size, and overall body shape. Working in the yard is generally very consistent in motion, no matter whether you are weeding your garden beds, or mowing the lawn. Even in winter, the use of an electric snow blower will provide a significant calorie burn.

To put this into perspective, a 125 lb (approx. 57kg) person will burn 250-350 calories on basic lawn maintenance, planting and weeding at 200-400 calories an hour, and raking and bagging leaves at 350 to 450 calories an hour. The heavier you are, the more calories you will burn as well.

Muscles Targeted While Working in the Yard

You also target a large number of muscle groups working in a yard and garden. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn, and the energy you exert while taking care of your landscape can help tighten and tone your body. This isn’t the same as hitting the gym, but it is a great way to get some exercise in doing something you enjoy.

To target your upper body focus on weeding and planting, digging, chopping, and raking. To stimulate your lower body, add some miles mowing or snow blowing, digging, and bagging. Of course, all these movements also work upon other muscle groups as well.

Stimulate Your Brain Function

Gardening has long been used to stimulate happy thoughts and works against depression. There is something about the movements, combined with the care and cultivation of a yard and garden that help create feel-good thoughts in the brain. It is stress relieving and provides enough challenge to increase motor function and critical thinking. In fact, many doctors use gardening as therapy in dementia patients to ward off agitation and anxiety brought on by their confused state as it helps them focus and feel purposeful.

Save on Your Grocery Bill

Many people grocery shop on a budget, and unfortunately, due to the economics of demand, fresh produce has a tendency to be a bit on the pricey side of things. Because of this, fresh fruits and vegetables, especially those are out of season, can get costly and may max out your budget fairly quickly.

If you grow your own garden, even if all you have is a small patio for container gardens, you can maximise your produce, cut down on the grocery bill, and even cut back on waste. You don’t need a big plot of land to plant a few of your favorite vegetables, plus, if you are feeling really innovative, you can even take advantage of indoor grow lights for year-round harvests.

Eat Fresh

There really isn’t any argument about it, eating fresh is better for your overall health, and getting regular servings of fresh fruits and veggies should be a priority. The many vitamins and minerals found in fresh produce help our bodies fight off infections, help build bone and muscle mass, and keep us regular- just to name a few perks of their ingestion.

Plus, if you do have your own garden, you can grow things that are easy to can, freeze, or otherwise store for out of season goodness. Tomatoes, squash varieties, beans, and peas are top favorites to have for later in the year and are excellent used in sauces and casseroles.

Conclusion

The benefits of gardening are not at all limited. From creating a healthier you as you make smarter eating choices, to the added calorie burn you get from working in the yard- no matter whether you have a goal or not you are living a healthier lifestyle. Brain function also improves, plus you have a sense of pride in the hard work and dedication you put into your yard. These are all great reasons to get moving and planning a garden of your own!

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