Let’s start digging and get planting because April is National Gardening Month. Gardening is a great way to enjoy the outdoors, interact with nature and improve your mental health.
The Benefits of Gardening
The act of gardening provides so many health benefits to not only the gardener but those that are eating the planted fruits and vegetables. Listed below are a few reasons gardening is beneficial:
- Increased Exercise. During gardening you perform physical activities such as squats and lunges during weeding, carrying bags of mulch and other tools and using full body movements to tend to the garden. You can make the exercise as extensive or minimal as you want in your garden, but it also can increase flexibility and balance as well.
- Improved Diet. Eating your own fruits and vegetables is a great source of whole foods and nutrients. Plant phytonutrient rich vegetables for cancer prevention and reduce your risk for heart disease, stroke, and other diseases. Peppers, Tomatoes, Leafy greens, and berries are all great options.
- Time in Nature. Gardening is also great for your physical and mental health. People tend to breathe deeper outside which helps clear lungs, improve digestion and increase oxygen levels in the blood. Spending time outside can reduce heart rate and release tension in muscles.
- Reduced Stress Levels. The physical activity involved in gardening has been shown to lighten moods and lower stress levels due to the gratification of planting, growing and eating your own food. The act of gardening also creates a routine where you must water and tend to the plants which can help you establish a soothing routine.
- Social Connection. Gardening with others is a great way to connect and build relationships. It helps bring people together from different backgrounds all in support of the same goal. Social interactions in life are important to create a sense of belonging and maintain a healthy support system.
Choosing the Right Plants
Plant fruits and vegetables that are most likely to thrive in your geographical location. Use the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map to find out which zone you live in, then follow the recommendations on which fruits and vegetables work best in your area, and when to plant them.