Caught the home gardening bug and found yourself wanting to grow your own greens at home? You are not alone. There has been a sprouting interest in home gardening amid the pandemic, especially when people spend more time indoors.
Be it edible plants like herbs and leafy vegetables or beautiful flower blooms, gardening goes beyond beautifying your homes. In our Ask My Doctor webinar on Gardening your way to health and happiness, Dr Michelle Cheung, Senior Physician & General Practitioner of Raffles Medical Group shared with us 7 health benefits of gardening. Read on to learn more.
1. Builds self-esteem and a great mood-booster
Life is not all sunshine and rainbows. There are times when your seeds might not sprout or your plants wither. However, there will also be times when you see your hard work pay off as your plants grow healthily. Accomplishing new tasks like growing a whole garden can make you feel good and give you an incredible sense of belonging and achievement. It can also boost your confidence to take on harder tasks in life.
2. Reduces stress, anxiety and depression
Gardening can be seen as a coping mechanism. It allows you to focus on a task and distract your mind from stressful situations. In addition, community gardening also creates the opportunity to connect with people who are like-minded, which can help in combating the feeling of loneliness.
3. Manages eco-anxiety
If you are feeling stressed or worried over the unchecked effects of climate change, you can consider picking up gardening. No matter the scale, gardening allows you to do your part to mitigate the negative effects of environmental damage by offsetting the carbon load little by little.
4. Boosts vitamin D levels
Outdoor gardening is a perfect way to get your sunshine and boost vitamin D while pursuing a fun hobby. Your body makes vitamin D when exposed to the sun and this is essential for body functions such as strengthening your bones and immune system. However, too much of anything is not necessarily a good thing. According to Dr Cheung, about 10 to 30 minutes a day would suffice.
Also, do not forget to use sun protection before heading outdoors to prevent the harmful effects of ultraviolet (UV) rays! (Learn 5 tips to protect your skin in the sun here)
5. Good for heart and skeletal muscles
Gardening can be a great form of aerobic exercise. All the digging, planting and weeding from gardening can strengthen your cardiac function and actually burn quite a lot of calories!
6. Decreases risk of dementia
Besides the heart and skeletal muscles, gardening can have beneficial effects on the brain too. According to a study in 2006, daily gardening can reduce the risk of dementia by 36%.
7. Growing your own food for healthier eating
Growing herbs, vegetables or fruits at home might put you on track to adopting a healthier diet. When your plants yield (edible) results, you can harvest the fresh produce to whip up healthy, nutritious meals. Besides, nothing beats the satisfaction from eating what you have grown with your own hands! If you have picky eaters at home, introducing gardening to your little ones might even motivate them to consume more fruits and vegetables.
Give gardening a try!
Yet to join the green side? Perhaps the above health benefits might push you to give gardening a try!
If you would like to learn more on how the pandemic has affected our mental health and how gardening can help, you may watch the full webinar recording on Gardening your way to health and happiness here. In the webinar, Adeline from Edible Garden City has also demonstrated simple steps to grow your own microgreens at home. So if you would like to grow your own edible plants but have no idea how to start, do check the webinar recording out.