Health benefits of gardening
We all love seeing the plants in the garden all around the house. We place them in mason jars, milk bottles, any unused glass or plastic (juice bottles were just hidden inside a small woven bag). The key is just to replace the water once cloudy. From front left to right, the Monstera Adansonii or Swiss Cheese plant, the Syngonium or Arrowhead plant, the Philodendron, and the Arrowhead again.
Health benefits of gardening
WELL-BEING - Mylene Mendoza-Dayrit (The Philippine Star) - June 2, 2020 - 12:00am

As we retreat indoors, more and more people are discovering the joy of gardening. People are bringing the outdoors inside by growing plants inside their homes and apartments.

My husband started caring for a small backyard garden at the beginning of ECQ. Today, those same plants have doubled, even tripled in size and number. We have since propagated many of the plants from the garden and filled different areas of our entire home with lush, green plants.

We enjoy fresh herbs right from our backyard and change our table setting with fresh flowers from the garden. My daughters are also getting in on the plant craze, growing aloe vera for their skincare regimens.

As I scroll through Facebook, I see that it’s not just us. Many of my friends have started exploring gardening and honing their green thumbs over the course of ECQ. This made me think about what makes gardening such a great hobby.

The Journal of Health Psychology noted that gardening is more effective at reducing stress than reading a book. Meanwhile, the Journal of Public Health reported that garden work for as little as 30 minutes improved mood and increased self-esteem.

Growing plants is an excellent stress reliever as it can be very rewarding to see your garden thrive. That explains why so many people have turned to gardening to cope with home quarantine.

Plants can contribute to the health of your home. They improve the air quality inside your house and can help manage the temperature.

Some of the best indoor plants that are easy to grow (even for beginners) and improve air quality are the snake plant, pothos, dracaena, philodendron and aloe vera. These are all hardy indoor plants that are low maintenance and thrive well inside.

Of course, there’s also the delicious reward of bringing fresh herbs, vegetables and fruit from your garden directly to your table. Growing your own food helps you eat healthier as you’re sure they’re not treated with any chemicals or pesticides. This is as fresh as it gets! It also helps you save money because you won’t need to run to the store to buy your kitchen essentials.

Herbs grow really well indoors. All you need is good soil and indirect sunlight for your little garden to thrive. Basil, rosemary, cilantro, chives, thyme, oregano and parsley are all excellent options for your herb garden.

Vegetables that are great to grow at home include sweet potatoes, spinach, pechay, microgreens, ginger and onions.

You harvest just as much benefits from the act of growing plants. Gardening improves both your physical and mental health.

Spending time outside increases your vitamin D intake naturally through sunlight. This can help increase your calcium levels for healthier bones and a stronger immunity, which is very important right now.

Planting, digging and weeding is exercise in its own right, burning calories and strengthening your heart. Tending a garden is hard work and definitely counts as cardio. Expect to sweat!

Apart from cardio, you can also get some upper body strength from digging and pulling as you garden. Handling plants is a great way to improve your hand and grip strength, while also having fun and creating a beautiful living space.

Gardening can also improve your mental health. Learning a new skill and watching your hard work bloom and thrive will boost your self-esteem. You’ll begin to see yourself as someone who is more nurturing and connected to the earth.

Growing plants reduces stress. It helps with depression and anxiety as it gives you a task to focus on. It also places you in a positive mindset — seeing living things grow and thrive. Breathing in the fresh air from your garden and touching the warm soil can even boost serotonin levels and reduce anxiety.

Growing plants grows a more beautiful home. Tending a garden is a great bonding activity for the whole family. I would highly encourage getting your kids in on the fun. It’s easy for young children to participate in and learn from gardening. In fact, early exposure to dirt can reduce allergies and autoimmune diseases in children.

Finally, gardening has taught us so many priceless values. It taught us patience, compassion and care, which can and should be applied not only to plants but to people, too.

What started as a stress-relieving outlet has become an invaluable part of our lifestyle. I highly recommend that everyone try it, at least starting with one houseplant. There’s no greater reward than watching it grow over time.

Gardening is an excellent addition to your life. It will help make your home and heart happy. Let’s continue to stay inside and stay safe, but take more green in with us to remain connected with nature.

* * *

Post me a note at mylene@goldsgym.com.ph or mylenedayrit@gmail.com.

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