Here in Oregon where I’m at the mercy of the ever changing spring forecast, I take any opportunity to get up to my elbows in potting soil and plant to my hearts’ content. On my way home from work the other night, the local nursery billboard read, “To Garden is to Have Hope for Tomorrow.” So beautiful, and so true how planting a garden gives us that childlike anticipation of growth, and the promise of good things to come. Since dodging the frost, and putting in my herbs, I’m finding myself anxiously checking for progress, as if watching will make them grow faster. People are known to read to their flowers so I’m not alone in this!
Gardening is a cathartic sort of hobby which does the body, and the mind so much good. Anyone who’s spent hours digging around in their yard can attest to the sore muscles that prove yard work is a pretty hard core workout! According to the Centers for Disease Control, two and a half hours of moderate intensity exercise is recommended to lower the risk of conditions such as high blood pressure, osteoporosis, and heart disease. The CDC recognizes gardening as an activity considered to be moderate intensity.
Growing a garden is a natural stress reliever, and encourages positive mood. The American Horticultural Therapy Association promotes gardening as a form of therapy for individuals going through personal life issues such as addiction and depression. Taking the time to prepare the soil, and planting new life brings a feeling of nurturing and peace with something to look forward to each day. According to an article published by Kansas State University, older adults can reap the mental health benefits of gardening by improving their self-esteem, boost feelings of well being.
Nothing is more rewarding than harvesting the first tender offerings from a garden you planted yourself. If you don’t have space, consider a community garden as a fun way to socialize with fellow gardeners, while soaking in some vitamin D. It’s all about multitasking right?