Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation

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Three Ways Backyard Gardening Boosts Your Physical and Mental Health

October 12, 2018

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More and more people are figuring out that in terms of improving overall wellness, there are few better activities than gardening. Spending time in your own backyard garden not only allows you to produce beautiful plants and healthy, delicious vegetables - it also gives you a great physical workout and helps to improve your mental health.


Your vegetable garden is giving you more health benefits than you think


Research has shown that kids who participate in gardening at home eat more fruits and vegetables and actually prefer the taste to other foods. Instilling a lifetime love of healthy eating in your children is a wonderful benefit of your vegetable garden.


But it’s not just kids that this applies to. Everyone in your family will eat more vegetables if you grow them in your own backyard - first, because they are cheaper and more readily available, and second, because you can be sure that they are grown in a healthy, organic manner. In your home garden, you decide what type of fertilizers and pesticides to use. In an ideal world, you wouldn’t use anything ending in “-cide” in your own home garden. As Harvard Health points out, home gardening also gives you ultimate control over when you harvest your fruits and vegetables. This ensures that you pick them at the peak of ripeness, when they will be chock-full of nutrients. Oftentimes, store produce is picked too early, and the nutritional value suffers.


When it comes to building a vegetable garden in your own yard, many think they have to sacrifice beauty for utility. Contrary to popular belief, a vegetable garden can be an attractive feature. One good tip to make your edible garden beautiful is to mix in some colorful plants that attract birds and butterflies. Small trees and shrubs that produce berries are also good options for a front-yard edible garden - just be sure to plant them in the fall or very early spring so they’ll thrive, Angie’s List advises. If you allow some of your vegetables to bloom instead of harvesting them all, you will be rewarded with some beautiful flowers.


It’s giving your brain a boost


Gardening stimulates a lot of different parts of your brain. For one, it stimulates your creativity - designing a garden is just as much art as it is science. It stimulates your problem-solving skills, as well as your ability to manage spatial arranging. It forces you to learn about which plants will succeed in which environments (shade vs. sun, dry vs. damp, pH levels in soil, etc.). But beyond that, gardening is a known stress-reducer. Check out this article for ways to make your gardening experience an even better tool for busting stress.


It’s giving you a workout (yes, really)


If you think that gardening doesn’t count as physical exercise, then you have never gardened before. Activities common to gardening - like weeding, moving heavy stones, raking, digging, and tilling soil - can burn between 100 and 200 calories every half hour. To put that in perspective, a moderate jog burns around 200-250 calories. It’s not just an aerobic workout, obviously, as the constant bending, sitting, kneeling, squatting, and shifting from position to position helps train muscle groups as well. It’s also low-impact, so it’s a great physical activity for people of any age and ability level. Spend a whole day in the garden and by the time the next morning rolls around, there won’t be a doubt in your mind that gardening is an adequate workout.


Some may think that the main purpose of a garden is beauty or improving the value of our property. In fact, gardening is a top-tier way to get exercise, boost your brainpower, and make sure your entire family is eating healthy. 




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