When it comes to healthy hobbies, we are all for cooking at home, journaling, meditating, taking daily walks, and going to bed early. However, there is one habit in particular that often gets overlooked. And it can make the biggest difference to your life. Gardening is probably one of the oldest outdoor activities known to man. And if you think that it’s only for the elderly, think again. This healthy hobby can be one of the best ways to achieve longevity and a healthier lifestyle overall. We really love gardening – and here’s why.
1. It’s great for your mental health
By now, science has provided proof that getting your fingers in the dirt can improve your state of mind and emotions. A study conducted in the Netherlands indicated that simply being present in a garden after completing a stressful task can inhibit the release of cortisol, the stress hormone.
Not only that, being around living plants can put you in a better mood. And it’s not difficult to see why. When you find yourself in green spaces, you get to breathe fresh air. You get to come into contact with a variety of plant life.
2. It allows you to grow something living and beautiful
There’s a reason botany is a respected area of science – it’s a fascinating realm of life forms. If you have ever experienced the joy of your plant’s first bloom or enjoyed its first fruits, you’ll understand why gardening is such a source of pleasure. Many people nowadays even refer to themselves as “plant parents”, and they have a deep love for their house-plants or garden.
Gardening can also be challenging. Some plants – like bonsai trees – are difficult to care for, and require lots of maintenance. When you get to cultivate something and see it develop, you eventually enjoy a sense of real achievement, as well as an improved measure of purpose and self-esteem.
3. Gardening gives you a chance to grow your own food
Perhaps I’m biased because my vegetable garden recently produced the biggest, juiciest zucchinis I’ve had in my life. But especially because I live in an urban area, being able to grow and eat your own food is one of the best parts of my season.
By doing so, you can better control what lands on your plate. You also know exactly how much pesticide and fertilizer it came into contact with, and how fresh it is by the time you consume it.
If you check out the Dirty Dozen list released each year by EWG (Environmental Working Group) you’ll see the top 12 USDA tested produce that features the highest pesticide loads. The vegetables that regularly make this list include tomatoes, potatoes, spinach, celery, and peppers. Incidentally, these veggies are also some of those that can be grown with the least amount of effort in your backyard. You can hereby reduce the toxins on your plate effectively.
That’s a luxury most consumers don’t have, and your health will thank you for it. By growing your own fruits and vegetables, you also have the benefit of growing them in season. This will allow for optimum freshness and the least possible amount of nutrients lost. Besides, grown properly, you’ll get a much better flavor than what your grocery store and commercial farming can offer you.
4. It allows you to bring nature into your home
With more and more people moving to urban areas, it’s important to get outside and be present in natural environments. Whether you have a little herb garden in your kitchen or a full-blown fruit and vegetable garden in your backyard, gardening keeps you close to nature, and your home will benefit automatically.
Simply having a couple of house plants already makes a difference. You can enjoy cleaner air, improved atmosphere, and added aesthetic value, of course. Studies indicate that placing plants on your desk can also improve productivity and concentration.
If you – like many other people – don’t have a massive amount of space to work with, a vertical garden lets you get away with it. Make the best use of your walls and porches with plants that grow upwards. Click on the link to find out how you can grow a vertical garden in your home.
Van den Berg A.E., Custers M.H., 2011. Journal of Health Psychology. Gardening promotes neuroendocrine and affective restoration from stress. 16(1):3-11. doi: 10.1177/1359105310365577.
Environmental Working Group. https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/dirty_dozen_list.php#.WgnlrSMrJz8
Grow a good life. https://growagoodlife.com/grow-your-own-organic-food/