The Health benefits of Gardening & Greenspaces
Lower blood pressure
The human eye can perceive more shades of green than of any other colour. Green triggers a response in the sympathetic nervous system to relieve tension in the blood vessels and lowers the blood pressure. Holistically it is ‘the healing colour’ and the colour of the heart chakra.
Gardening benefits your health
As an activity it is a means of aerobic, isometric and isotonic exercise, the combination of which benefits general health but specifically enhances strength, endurance and flexibility; thus increasing fitness levels as well as boosting the immune, respiratory and cardiovascular systems.
The garden is a green gym
Mowing a lawn with a push mower for ½ hour duration burns approximately 243 calories in exertion – that is the equivalent quantity to the strenuous activity of chopping wood for a ½ hour. Turing a compost pile for approximately 15mins exertion can burn in excess of 100 calories. Lifting a gallon watering can, full of water in each hand is equivalent to 8 pound dumbbells.
The physicality of gardening not only benefits muscles, bones and organs but actually releases endorphins which help to alleviate stress and its side effects. A healthy portion of gardening will stimulate appetite and foster a good night's sleep. It is a positive and healthy activity for all age groups from children to senior citizens.
Breathe better air
Gardening is a great provider of fresh air which revitalizes body and mind. Invigorating activity allows the lungs to fully avail of the better air quality of a garden. Remember that the garden is an oxygen-making machine. Photosynthesis is the process by which a plant makes food, part of the process entails plants removing co2 and other environmental gasses and pollutants from the air and releasing oxygen back into the atmosphere.
Sensible sun exposure
The garden can provide the healthy benefits of SENSIBLE sun exposure: vitamin D ‘the sunshine vitamin’ is a hormone made by skin exposed to sunlight, which has been shown to act as a powerful inhibitor of abnormal cell growth. Cells in the colon, prostate and breast have similar mechanisms for the D hormone. Sunshine is also a mood booster. Remember not to overexpose your skin to sun.
Gardeners are more likely to eat a wider range of fruit, vegetables, salads and herbs than non-gardeners with resulting health benefits. Even if the gardener is not engaged in growing edible crops an inherent ‘gardener’s awareness’ of health and green issues develops.
Improve self esteem
Gardening enables a sense of accomplishment. It involves all the senses and engages the intellect and the physical body. It provides a pleasant pastime filled with opportunities for reward where reaping what you sow is an immense positive.
Connect with nature
Gardening offers a relationship with nature which provides a sense of psychological wellbeing. It can engender a spiritual and metaphysical connection that offers solace or serenity; further boosting both physiological and physical health.