We know gardening makes us feel good, but did you know it can actually improve our health in many tangible ways? Here are some healthy “side effects” of digging in the dirt, according to Australia’s Nursery and Garden Industry (NGIA):
Being around plants indoors helps people concentrate better at home and in the workplace. Studies show that tasks performed while under the calming influence of nature are performed better and with greater accuracy, yielding a higher-quality result. Moreover, being outside in a natural environment can improve memory performance and attention span by 20 percent!
Having flowers around the home and office greatly improves people’s moods and reduces the likelihood of stress-related depression. Aside from their mood-boosting beauty and psychological reminder of “life,” flowers and ornamental plants continually pump fresh oxygen into the air, making people feel alert and refreshed, yet secure and relaxed.
Trees sequester carbon from the atmosphere, improving air quality and reducing our carbon footprint. Trees and landscaping also help to absorb pollutants and particles in the air, serving as a natural filtration system. Indoors, this is especially important when it comes to reducing allergies and sickness.
If you’re involved in a physical activity that’s more like a hobby, you’re less inclined to think of all that movement as “work” or something you “have to do.” And with diabetes and other weight-related illnesses on the rise, an increasing number of people have to find ways to work exercise into their regular routine. Access to parks and recreational activities, by the way, has been positively correlated with rates of physical activity, which in turn improves mood and health. It’s also a great proactive way to reduce your health care costs in the future.
So get out the trowel and play in the dirt! You might be surprised at just how good you feel!