It’s almost time to get on your knees and get dirty in the garden!  Gardening increased in popularity during COVID and hopefully most people have kept with it.  Not only do you get some beautiful flowers and/or fresh veggies but gardening can help keep you healthy.

If you garden, you can’t help but increase the amount of exercise you do. Gardening works your whole body.  Whether you realize it or not you are squatting, doing lunges, lifting weight, and using your core and upper body when raking and digging.  It’s not surprising that you can burn as many calories in the garden as you can in the gym.  Gardening can also improve your balance and flexibility.  If you don’t have the flexibility you need there are tools that can help you.  Use a small stool or pads to help support your knees.  You can also put in some raised garden beds so you won’t have to bend over to garden.  Buying smaller bags of soil or mulch, and smaller pots can make gardening easier.

Growing your own vegetables means you are inclined to eat more vegetables. Growing a variety of veggies means that you will likely eat a greater variety.

Spending time in the garden means you are out of the house and spending time in nature.  This is good for your physical and mental health. People tend to breathe deeper outside which helps to clear lungs, improves digestion, improves the immune system, and increases oxygen levels in the blood.  Time in nature has been shown to reduce heart rate and muscular tension.  It can also help lower blood pressure and increase vitamin D levels.

Gardening, as with all forms of exercise can help reduce stress and anxiety.  Gardening routines (watering and weeding) can create a soothing rhythm to help ease stress.

Gardening tends to bring people together and can strengthen social connections.  Gardeners tend to be supportive and willing to share expertise, knowledge, and seedlings. Community garden plots bring people together in an environment where strong bonds and friendships can be created.  Social connections help to lower stress, improve resilience, and provide support.

If you are new to gardening, here are some tips to get you started.

Start small:

Gardening can be a lot of work if you have large gardens with lots of plants.  Starting small allows you time to sort out what works for you and what you like to grow.

Build a network:

Connect with people who like to garden and learn from them.

Research plants:

Find plants that grow well in your region. Talk to others about what is easiest to grow and how to be successful.