Gardening Is Good for You
DO YOU enjoy gardening? You could be deriving more than pleasure from your hobby. Researchers have found evidence that “gardening is good for your health, reducing stress levels, lowering blood pressure and even helping you live longer,” reports London’s Independent newspaper.
“After a busy, stressful day it’s a great escape to come home and potter about in your garden,” says author Gay Search. Not only is it rewarding and absorbing but gardening may even provide better exercise than going to the gym. How so? According to Search, “activities such as digging and raking are good steady exercise, which burns more calories than cycling.”
Tending a garden especially benefits the elderly. Waiting for a new shoot or bud to appear helps them to look ahead positively. Additionally, “the garden provides an antidote to the pain and frustration” of old age, states Dr. Brigid Boardman of the Royal Horticultural Society. The elderly often feel discouraged because of an increasing dependency on others. As Dr. Boardman notes, though, “the need to be in control is met by our control of what we plant, how we plan the garden, and how it is tended. And the need to care is again fulfilled.”
Those suffering from mental-health problems often feel relaxed when working in a beautiful, peaceful environment. Further, growing flowers or food for others may help such individuals to regain confidence and self-respect.
However, it is not just gardeners who benefit from greenery. Professor Roger Ulrich of the University of Texas experimented with a group of people who had been subjected to a stress-inducing test. He found that those who were taken to a green space surrounded by trees enjoyed a speedier recovery—as measured by heart rate and blood pressure—than did those not exposed to a natural setting. A similar test found that patients recuperating in the hospital after surgery benefited from staying in rooms that overlooked trees. Compared with other patients, they “recovered quicker, went home sooner, needed less pain relief and complained less.”