It’s that time of year when we venture into the garden for the first prune of the season, and we have some good news for you. While an afternoon of pottering in the garden may not sound like an arduous workout, doctors now say that digging, raking or mowing the lawn is just as beneficial as going to a gym.
According to the Daily Mail, half an hour of digging burns around 150 calories; the same period raking the lawn burns 120 and mowing the lawn burns around 165. And while 30 minutes of running burns double the number of calories, we spend two or three times as long in the garden, making it a more effective calorie burner. This is great news for all the treadmill-haters out there.
However, gardening does a lot more than help you burn calories. Here are six other great reasons why you should roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty:
Great for your mental health
Mounting evidence shows that a number of mental health problems, including anxiety and depression, are directly linked to the amount of time we spend outside. The evidence is so compelling that the health factor has been given its own name; horticultural therapy.
Horticultural therapists say gardening has a positive effect on mental health, as it provides a sense of control, which is the psychological counter to stress and anxiety. It also provides an outlet for creativity, and nurtures a sense of pride and accomplishment.
Nature’s stress reliever
Hectic work schedules and our reliance on electronic gadgets means we often tune out what’s around us. But gardening forces us to slow down and appreciate the here and now.
If you’ve spent hours weeding the garden, you’ll understand the meditative quality of the task. Gardening is repetitive, requires focus and offers a quiet space for contemplation. You may feel clearer after time spent in the garden, even if you haven’t been thinking about anything of importance. It allows a space for your brain to take a break.
Provides you with organic, home-grown produce
Who wouldn’t want to walk out the back door and grab all the ingredients for a delicious meal? When you grow your own fruit and vegetables, you can do just that. You can also control the quality of the soil and grow everything organically with no pesticides or herbicides, which is much healthier for you. Organic produce is especially beneficial with plants where you eat the skin, such as potatoes, tomatoes and berries.
Plus, when we put the effort into choosing, growing, and harvesting our own fruits and vegetables, we’re likely to eat more of them.
Offers immediate and long-term gratification
Gardening is one of those pursuits that lends itself well to both immediate and long-term gratification. You may have to wait an entire season to see your pumpkins grow, but you can reap the satisfaction of a neatly hoed row of carrots right away.
Good for the heart
Even though gardening may not be a high-intensity cardio sweat fest, it still provides powerful health benefits for your heart. In fact, gardening can cut the risk of a heart attack or stroke, and prolong life by 30%, according to research published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. The benefits come from the combination of physical exercise and the stress reduction playing in the dirt provides.
Adds value to your property and saves you money
In addition to all the health benefits, a well-kept garden can boost the value of your property and save you precious pennies on your weekly food shopping.
With so many health benefits, there’s no reason not to get outdoors. So rather than staying inside and reading a book or watching television this spring, why not get your hands dirty in the garden?
Have a massage to ease sore muscles
If you’ve got sore muscles from a hard afternoon of potting and digging, why not relax with one of our rejuvenating Thai Hot Oil Massages? Call us on 0131 629 0794 to book yours today.