Gardening is one of the healthiest hobbies (or passions) you can develop. Learn about the benefits of gardening here.
Gardening is good for you. If your family and friends are among the thousands of people who developed a passion for plants during the pandemic, here are some compelling reasons why you should start gardening, too.
Outdoor gardening may prevent diseases, including COVID-19
Though not as effective as plants, your body is capable of photosynthesis — the process that allows plants to transform light into chemical energy or "food" to sustain themselves.
Vitamin D is one of the essential nutrients your body needs. Fortunately, your skin can convert sunlight into vitamin D. According to a 2008 study, 30 minutes of sun exposure can provide between 8,000 and 50,000 international units of the vitamin you need. However, the results and effects differ depending on your skin color.
From boosting your immune system to promoting good bone health, vitamin D is a key factor in maintaining hundreds of body functions. Getting your daily dose of sunshine may also protect against COVID-19 and reduce your risk of:
- Bladder cancer
- Breast cancer
- Colorectal cancer
- Multiple sclerosis
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Prostate cancer
In addition, if you are vitamin D deficient, your chances of developing metabolic syndromes, diabetes, chronic skin problems, and even dementia are higher.
Of course, even though sunlight is good for your health, remember that too much of anything can be dangerous. Excessive sun exposure, especially when they lead to sunburns, raises your skin cancer risk. Ultimately, how much sun you should get depends on the sensitivity of your skin.
Gardening helps you build strength, maintain a healthy weight, and sleep better at night
Gardening counts as a workout evident in the physical activities associated with the hobby, including crouching down to cut grass, carrying heavy bags of soil and fertilizer, raking leaves, mowing the lawn, digging, and more.
Partnered with a healthy diet, the physical exertion involved in gardening can help you lose weight and build muscles. Furthermore, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania revealed that those who garden are more likely to sleep for at least seven hours at night.
Remember to take care of yourself while gardening
Like most activities, gardening can pose risks to your health and safety. Here's what you should do to avoid accidents while gardening:
- Don't forget to gear up! Wear gloves and goggles, as well as long pants and closed-toe shoes, especially when using sharp tools.
- Use bug spray to prevent insect bites.
- Use sunscreen to minimize your exposure to harmful ultraviolet radiation.
- When using weed killers, pesticides, and other chemicals — all of which can cause adverse health effects when used incorrectly — always follow the instructions indicated on the packaging.
- Don't push yourself too hard and seek help if you need it. It's easy to hurt yourself while carrying bags of soil or hoisting shovels full of dirt.
- Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.
- Take frequent breaks away from direct sunlight to prevent overheating.
- While working on your garden, maintain proper spinal alignment to prevent chronic back pain from developing.
- Get your tetanus vaccination every 10 years since tetanus is found in soil.
The Bottom Line
Whether your garden is small or large, getting dirt on your hands and basking in a bit of sun can be good for you. So get out there and beautify your surroundings.