As the sun begins to linger longer and temperatures start to rise, many people are craving more time outside. It’s no surprise as the outdoors can do wonders for relieving anxiety and stress. Countless studies have proven that nature has a positive effect on our mental health; What you see, hear and experience in nature can help to improve your mood in a moment.
One great way to enjoy fresh air and sunlight is through gardening. Gardening is an excellent activity for both the body and the mind. Digging through soil is a tangible way of connecting with the earth and can be incredibly relaxing. It is considered a moderately intense low-impact exercise that can help strengthen the heart and reduce heart attack odds by 30 per cent for those over 60 years of age.
Gardening requires the brain to practice critical functions such as problem solving and dexterity. Researchers have discovered that after tracking 3,000 subjects over 16 years, those who gardened regularly reduced their risk for dementia by 36-47 per cent. This is an incredible difference, especially for those with a family history of dementia or Alzheimer’s.
In a fast-passed society, it’s no wonder so many people turn to gardening to sooth their souls and relax. It builds on fundamental lessons such as responsibility, patience, acceptance and satisfaction. It takes responsibility to consistently care for plants and meet all their requirements, as well as patience to watch them grow and flourish.
Although gardening might seem like an individual hobby, there is an immense community of gardeners here in Manitoba that are more than willing to share their experiences. Along with all the incredible resources that provide information online, some fantastic Facebook groups to join are called Manitoba Gardens and Winnipeg Gardeners. As well, a few gorgeous flowers in your yard may earn a smile from someone walking past, or a basket of extra tomatoes could be the perfect excuse to share with your neighbours, friends and family.
The benefits of gardening go beyond our own physical and mental health and is a hobby that benefits the earth in more ways than one. Similar to trees, small plants absorb CO2 and exchange it with fresh oxygen. This process cleans the atmosphere and gives us clean air to breath. Depending on the type of garden, it can also provide fresh produce and help to reduce your carbon footprint by cutting down on transported products and pre-packaged foods from the grocery store. It can also cut down your grocery bill as an added benefit! Certain gardens can also help clean our watershed, as well as supply pollinators with food and habitat.
If you’re a first-time gardener, starting out may seem daunting but with all the benefits, it’s certainly worth giving it your best effort this season.