Summer is right around the corner and soon the fruits of Spring-time labor will be in full bloom. As most avid gardeners know, getting out in the garden is a wonderful way to connect with nature and take a pause from the business of life. Aside from the beauty and tasty food that gardening can produce, there are a few unexpected, personal benefits that it can provide. Whether you’re an old pro or a novice gardener, the benefits of getting out there and working the ground are for everyone.
1. It Combats Loneliness
Isolation is a real detriment to health. Shared spaces like community-vegetable gardens, sidewalks, and roundabouts that bring people together around a shared goal, can create lasting memories and enrichen neighborhoods. Working on something together that beautifies your neighborhood, is an excellent way to foster friendships and counteract loneliness. Families can even join in on the fun and give jobs like planting seeds to small children. Many cities have programs called “Adopt a Corner”, where you can band together with a few others to beautify a specific spot of town.
2. It Boosts Your Immune System
We live in an age in which our exposure to microbes is more limited than it ever has been. And while cleanliness is necessary for our health, sometimes the scale tips a little too far into completely sanitized. Exposure to a certain number of microorganisms is important for our gut health, allergy sensitivity and more. That is where gardening can be of service. Just one square inch of soil contains approximately 4 billion living organisms, which includes bacteria, fungi, protozoa, and nematodes! Turns out digging in the dirt and getting your hands a little messy can actually be a good thing sometimes.
3. It Increases Your Self-Esteem
As it turns out, that instant satisfaction you get from pulling weeds and pruning back a tree, is actually a scientifically backed phenomenon. Studies have shown that being outdoors and tending to plants actually lowers cortisol levels, which in turn, directly impacts mood. Moreover, planting bee-friendly plants, carbon converting trees, or native wildflowers directly impacts the earth in a positive way. Knowing that you are making an impact can be truly rewarding.
4. It Helps with Mobility
Gardening requires the use of a variety of tools, such as clippers, trowels, rakes and more . Many of the squeezing, pulling and releasing movements that you do while gardening are excellent forms of exercise. As you age, maintaining strength and dexterity becomes even more important, and gardening can be a fun way to accomplish this. Just be sure not to overdo it and make accommodations when necessary, such as using a kneeling bench or a non-dominant side of your body to do the work.