Calling all green thumbs! June 6 is National Gardening Exercise Day. This fun holiday celebrates the labor of love we give to our plants.
Gardening is an enjoyable, relaxing, even creative outlet for many people. But it’s hard work! Many gardens require hours of manual labor tilling, digging, planting, weeding, trimming, watering, and picking. Not to mention the squatting, kneeling, lifting, and stretching that your body must do in order to complete those tasks.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), light gardening for 1 hour can burn 330 calories! That’s more calories burned than bicycling for an hour!1
That’s why we like National Gardening Exercise Day — it reminds us that even our favorite hobbies can be considered exercise!
Benefits of Gardening
Getting outside means more Vitamin D
Vitamin D is another powerful vitamin that helps us fight disease and strengthen our bodies. Since the sun produces Vitamin D in your body, a little time in the garden can go a long way. (Just remember to wear sunscreen!)
Build self-esteem and a sense of pride
You know the feeling of a job well done? Well gardening is a renewable source of that feeling! Not only will each gardening task instill a sense of pride, it all builds together into an even bigger accomplishment. Keeping plants alive requires skill and attention, and doing this successfully has been shown to increase self-esteem. (Not to mention delicious, fresh food.)
Reduce your stress & boost your mood
Studies have shown that gardening actually reduces the stress hormone cortisol in your body. This physical change literally puts you in a calmer state of mind. It’s even shown to be more effective than reading.2 Next time something stressful happens, take a break in your garden to restore a positive mood.
Improve your memory
Around the world, there has been a lot of research that shows gardening actually has positive effects on adults being treated with dementia. Since exercise improves cognitive functions of the brain, the movement and thought that goes along with gardening has shown to improve memory. In fact, some Nordic countries have created a program called Green Care, a “concept using animals, plants and nature in an active process to offer health-promoting activities for people.”3
Tips to start a garden
You don’t need a large yard to begin gardening. You can get many gardening benefits from caring for indoor plants. You can also volunteer at a local community garden. If you’re ready to try your hand at gardening, here are few helpful tips for beginners:
Don’t feel like you have to dedicate a large plot for a garden. Start with small containers outside or even an indoor herb garden.
Understand your climate
This will help you choose which plants to grow, when to plant them, and what temperatures are ideal for growing. That way, you won’t waste time, money, and energy trying to get an avocado tree to flourish in Minnesota.
Here comes the sun
No matter what, your garden needs sunlight! Make sure you place your garden in a spot that gets the most sunlight during the day. (That shady spot behind the garage probably won’t work). If you’re opting for an indoor garden, invest in sun lamps and/or make sure your plants are near sun-facing windows.
Convenience over all
You know the adage “out of sight, out of mind”. Make sure you can SEE your hard work! Gardening is an ongoing hobby, so make sure to put your garden somewhere it’s convenient for you.
Learn watering needs
Seedlings need a lot of water, larger plants don’t need as much. Make sure you’re paying attention to recent weather conditions so you don’t accidentally overwater your plants right after a rainspell.
We love hobbies at United Medicare Advisors because overall wellbeing health is so much more than your blood pressure numbers or weight on the scale. Make sure to read our other hobby-centric posts, Does your space match your lifestyle? and 21 things to do when you retire.