Maintaining one’s health is an ongoing concern for many people, particularly as people age. Strong physical health encompasses a variety of factors, including your diet, your activity level, and even your mental health — stress and anxiety, for example, can have negative impacts on your physical condition over time.
There’s no one right way to develop and maintain a healthy lifestyle, and it’s important for individuals to figure out how they want to integrate healthy living into their daily routine. While marathon training works great for some, that’s not the case for everyone. If you’re not interested in exercising for exercise’s sake, you might want to consider gardening. Although it’s a less active approach to healthy living than one might expect, it actually creates a wide range of health benefits for you to enjoy.
Here is a quick overview of the ways in which gardening can give you a higher quality of life.
Gardening isn’t just an activity. It’s also a source of food. By growing your own fruits and vegetables, you can put a focus on getting certain nutrients to improve your diet. And even if you’re not focused on nutritional content, per se, you’re still more likely to increase the presence of fruits and vegetables in your diet, leading to better daily dietary choices.
By growing plants in the comfort of your own backyard, you save your produce — and your body — from exposure to herbicides, pesticides and other dangerous chemicals. You’ll know exactly what elements your food is exposed to, including fertilizers and other plant treatments, so you don’t have to worry about the harmful side effects of your food.
It’s a Workout
Gardening might seem like an activity for the faint of heart, but it’s actually a decent workout. Gardening works your muscles through a variety of activities, all of which are important to the gardening process, including digging holes, tilling the soil, planting seeds, pulling weeds and more. All of these garden care activities — which need to be done consistently during the growing season — will improve your heart health as well as your overall fitness, and all while being outdoors.
Sunlight Improves Mood
You might not realize it, but sunlight actually provides a valuable nutrient that your body absorbs through the skin. Vitamin D is a known mood booster, but it also delivers other health benefits to your body. Your bone health improves through vitamin D absorption, and your overall mental health — an important component of physical health — also stands to be improved. Make sure you wear sunscreen when the sun is bright, but take advantage of the nice weather and get out in the garden to soak up those rays.
Granted, gardening may not be for everybody. But it’s hard to know if it’s right for you until you’ve given it a fair shake. If you have the opportunity and the interest, spend a season outdoors developing and tending your garden, and see if you find yourself enjoying the activity and benefiting from improved health. If you discover a passion for gardening, you can embrace your new hobby with the satisfaction of knowing that your body — and your family’s nutrition — are all benefiting from your time in the garden.