7 Health Benefits of Gardening ...

I don't know about you, but I love having a flower garden! I haven't had much luck with a vegetable garden, but if I ever do, I am sure to love that too! I love the beauty of the flowers and greenery, how it makes my yard look so much better. And the smell of those roses could keep my nose busy for several hours! However, there are more reasons that I love gardening as well. Gardening provides several health benefits that will help fight age and keep you strong. If you don't believe me, read on to learn 7 health benefits of gardening.

1. You Can Lose Weight

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Believe it or not, working in the garden at least 30 minutes a few times a week can help you burn calories and lose weight. In fact, the National Institute of Health lists it as a 30 - 45 minute activity to fight obesity. A few calorie burning examples that you will find in garden work are digging holes, weeding and planting. When digging a hole, a woman burns 150 calories while a man burns 195 calories. Weeding will help a woman to burn 156 calories and a man to burn 157, and while planting, a woman can burn 135 calories and a man can burn 177. So basically, doing any of these useful activities for 30 - 45 minutes will give you the same benefits as biking for 5 miles or walking 2 miles! Can't beat that, can you?

2. You Can Build Muscle Strength

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It isn't exactly a piece of cake to pick up large bags or mulch or potting soil, so for every one you pick up and carry, you're building your strength a little more. You can also achieve this by pushing wheelbarrows, and even raking and shoveling. Sparkpeople.com suggests that you forget the leaf blower and use a rake, and use all manual tools for maximum benefits in your health. Forget your gym membership! You can garden in place of going to the gym, and it will probably be much cheaper, and you'll get twice as much for your money!

3. It Fights Signs of Age

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There are many things that come with aging that can be slowed with gardening. Loss of flexibility, joint strength, high blood pressure and cholesterol and even osteoporosis and heart disease are a few things that can be fought with some good, daily gardening. Things like pushing a wheelbarrow ad raking help with your joints, while constant bending and squatting to grab weeds help with your flexibility. Yo may find you have more hand strength as well, since you're constantly having to grip things of different sizes and shapes. Gardening therapy or "horticultural therapy" is now being used to help the elderly and those who have mental illnesses, because of the vast health benefits of gardening.

4. Helps Reduce Stress

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It's well known that any form of exercise releases endorphins that help to relieve stress in a person. This is no exception for gardening. However, added to the regular exercise benefits, gardening also offers the benefits of emotional healing, which helps to calm the mind and body. A lot of this could be linked to the many smells you encounter as you're gardening. I can completely understand that, as I feel so incredibly relaxed and calm after smelling my roses!

5. It Gives a Feeling of Accomplishment

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Just the feeling of having accomplished something when we step back and admire our beautiful garden is enough to help relieve stress and give us a better night's sleep. This will help us to be more optimistic about life, and look forward to what life has in store for us. In other words, gardening helps to cure the melancholic side of us and brighten our outlook on life. We can all use that occasionally, can't we?

6. It's a Combination Workout

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Who needs all those special workouts like yoga and aerobics when you've got gardening? Gardening combines the three major types of exercise: endurance, flexibility and strength. But as Steve Upson, a horticulturist and author said, "Gardening is a labor of love. Exercise is just plain labor." Basically, it's much better to love to garden and get all the benefits that gardening offers, than to have to exercise and receive the few benefits that the particular form of exercise you choose gives you. I'll take gardening any day!

7. Eat Your Benefits

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If you do choose to grow a vegetable garden, you choose wisely. On top of all the great health benefits from the work that goes into it, you also get to eat the fresh produce which is wonderful for your diet health! In the few things I have had success with in vegetables, I loved to go out and eat straight from the garden! (And I could since I chose to go pesticide free!) These days, even if you don't have a lot of room to grow a big garden, you can have potted tomatoes and cucumbers using those special garden pots. Or, have strawberries hanging from your porch! Can't get much easier than that!

Here's a wonderful infographic to further demonstrate the benefits of gardening.

If you ever pay attention to the people around you, you will come to find many elderly people, still going strong as they garden each and every day. Their gardening is the secret to their good health at an older age. You can have that too. I read of one man who was 87, but had the health of a 55 year old because of his daily work in his garden. His doctor was amazed. Amaze your doctor and grow a garden, to reap the many health benefits of gardening!

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