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Author Topic: The Health Benefits of Gardening  (Read 2067 times)

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The Health Benefits of Gardening
« on: April 15, 2021, 12:51:19 AM »

* an excerpt of the article follows so see the source link for the whole article:

Gardening is one of the most beneficial activities you can do for yourself, especially in terms of your health. The benefits that it can give you range from physical to social to mental and even developmental. By this, we mean that no matter your age or ability, you can reap something from gardening that will have a positive impact on your life.

Of course, not everyone has a garden, and so this leaves a lot of people thinking that they have to miss out on these wonderful benefits we have talked about. However, luckily for you, there are many ways to get around this hurdle, and even without a physical garden, there are still ways you can incorporate gardening into your life.

In this article, we are going to be taking you through all of the benefits that you can reap from gardening, as well as examining the reasons why gardening can be so beneficial. We will be doing this through the use of some leading research that has been done on gardening, from many different avenues.

For example, it is pertinent to get scientific perspectives, as well as perspectives from psychologists and wellness therapists. We will also be exploring how you can garden even if you don’t have a garden yourself, showing you ways you can incorporate this beneficial practice into your life. One thing is for sure, and that is that gardening is truly for everyone!

So, if you are thinking about taking up gardening, and wondered what sort of health benefits you can expect to reap from this activity, then this is the article for you!

Why Is Gardening Good For You

As we mentioned in the introduction, gardening is a fantastic hobby for any individual to take up, no matter their age or ability. We know what you may be thinking… elderly people may struggle, and so might many people with prohibiting disabilities.

However, we are here to tell you that there are so many ways that gardening can be adapted to suit everyone’s needs. It is not an exclusive activity that can only be undertaken by able-bodied people. There are many adaptations that can be made to accommodate anybody who wants to take part.

In this section of the article, we want to draw your attention to two very different groups of people in particular. Gardening has had an immensely positive impact on elderly people and recovering addicts alike.

These two very different groups have, understandably, got very different needs. However, as we have stated, gardening is inclusive, and there are many ways that people from both of these groups can take part in gardening in fun, safe, and healthy ways. Keep on reading to find out more.

Good for Recovering Addicts

The first of these two groups that we wanted to talk about is that of recovering addicts.

By ‘recovering addicts’, we mean people who were once addicted to alcohol and drugs.

Working with plants, whether in a garden setting or indoors, has long been an important factor in many programs for recovery from addiction.

In fact, there have been numerous studies done on the impact of gardening on these people, with one study identifying that being around plants helps to foster positive feelings in recovering people, as well as aiding them in rehabilitation.

Indeed, there is a whole branch of therapy known as horticultural therapy, and it is utilized by many people, not just recovering addicts. That being said, it is amongst these people that it seems to have the most positive effect.

Another study indicated that, when recoverers on a natural therapy program were asked to choose between art or gardening, those that undertook gardening reported a more positive overall experience with their recovery program compared with those that chose art.

The reasons why gardening seems to work so well for recovering addicts could lie in the fact that gardening is an act that can significantly reduce stress. When done outside, you get the benefit of fresh air, vitamin D from the sun, and the joys of being out in nature.

Of course, we must state here that it is unlikely that gardening alone will help someone combat drug and alcohol addiction, and it is by no means something that we are recommending. What we mean is that, when used alongside a program set out by a trusted medical professional, gardening as therapy can play an important part in a person’s recovery.

Good for Elderly

As well as helping out recovering addicts, gardening can also have an extremely positive impact on the elderly.

From health benefits to social benefits, gardening can provide a crutch for the elderly at a time where they can’t do many of the things they used to enjoy doing.

What we mean by this is that gardening is accessible, and no matter what health issues an elderly person has, there will be at least some aspect of gardening that they can partake in.

To begin with, we want to demonstrate what sort of activities an elderly person can do in the garden.

No matter their ability, there will be something in our list that they can enjoy:

  • Water flowers (this can even be done from a sitting position, making it ideal for wheelchair users)
  • Plant seeds (provided their mobility allows them)
  • Help to gather vegetables and fruit
  • Plan the layout of the garden
  • Prune bushes and trees
  • Take part in raking and lawn mowing if their mobility allows for it

Of course, these activities are not exhaustive, and there are certainly many more that elderly people can take part in. These were the activities that we have found through research that are most popular with elderly people, most of which can be easily adapted to suit physical and mental needs.

Gardening can be done alongside other people if you seek out community gardens, gardening clubs, and allotments. This means that elderly people will have direct contact with other people who also enjoy gardening.

As well as this, it will improve their social skills, giving them better opportunities to make new acquaintances. This is especially important for elderly people who may suffer from loneliness.

As well as the social aspects associated with gardening, we cannot forget the health benefits that have been proven to be caused by gardening. Gardening is, to some extent, quite a physical activity.

Of course, as we have mentioned, it can be adapted to the needs of everyone, and so for some people, there may be less physical activity. However, in general, gardening is classed as moderate exercise.

This is because it involves lots of digging, crouching, raking, lawn mowing, and many other physical activities. In turn, this has tremendous effects on aspects of your health such as your blood pressure, heart health, and even muscle strengthening.

As if these physical and social benefits weren’t enough, there is also much in the way of evidence to suggest that gardening can actually help boost memory in older people. We have known for many years that exercise can help cognitive function, but more recent research suggests that gardening also has the same effect.

It is thought that gardening for just a short amount of time can actually help to spur on the growth of nerves in your brain that relates to memory. This can, in turn, improve a person’s memory. Now, we are not going to sit here and promise that it can cure dementia. Sadly, it’s far from it.

However, because of the positive effects, it can have on a person, there is certainly evidence to suggest that it can be an effective treatment, perhaps for slowing down the impact of these memory related diseases, or by lessening the impact of them on a person.

In support of this, there was a study done in Korea that concluded that just around 20 minutes of gardening can increase nerve growth in the brain in both males and females. These nerves are, unsurprisingly, related to memory.

Of course, then there is the factor of mental health. As we will discuss later on in the article, gardening has a major impact on the reduction of mental health related issues and illnesses. It can positively reduce issues such as depression and loneliness.

Knowing this, and knowing that elderly people are vulnerable to these issues, it is no surprise that gardens are often incorporated into programs to help the elderly.

Read the full article at the source link ...
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