One of the initial effects of the lockdowns during the pandemic was the food shortages due to the disruptions in the food supply chain. The scarcity of food items in the groceries compelled people to buy spades, rakes, and seeds to start gardens in their homes.
Many made small gardens using the limited plots of available land they had for planting. But others had to contracted reliable retaining wall professionals to prevent rainwater from running through their huge gardens and ruining their crops.
No matter what size the gardens were, they provided more benefits than giving the families a source of fresh produce in their backyard. Here are the other benefits people can get from maintaining a garden at home.
Since gardening requires a lot of work, homeowners can exercise while taking care of their produce. Even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers gardening a moderate exercise that allows 154-pound persons to use up to 165 calories when they work in the garden for 30 minutes. It is comparable to dancing and playing golf while carrying the golf clubs.
It allows people to build their muscles and use every major muscle group in their bodies. The physical exertion required for garden work allows people to offset weight gain due to aging. It also promotes rest, and people who work in their gardens can sleep at least seven hours at night.
Another benefit offered by gardening is it allows people to build their immunity. When people work on their garden outside the house, they get their daily dose of vitamin D from the sun. Around 30 minutes of sun exposure allows the body to absorb at least 8,000 international units (IU) of the vitamin.
The body uses Vitamin D for several purposes, including building the immune system and strengthening the bones. Moreover, working in the garden while under the sun also lowers the risk of several types of cancer, including bladder cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, and colorectal cancer.
Additionally, vitamin D also manages the amount of phosphate and calcium in the body. These nutrients help the body keep the muscles, bones, and teeth healthy. Vitamin D also reduces the risk of developing metabolic syndrome, dementia, and psoriasis flares.
While the body receives all of these benefits, it’s still important to avoid overexposure to the sun since it can increase skin cancer risk.
Gardening also enhances memory through the exercise a person gets from it. Exercise can improve the cognitive functions of the brain. Initially, researchers were at odds on whether gardening can help improve cognitive skills by themselves. But studies have shown that gardening allows the memory-related nerves in the brain to grow.
A study in Korea involving people going through treatment for dementia showed brain nerve growth in areas associated with memory. Both female and male participants showed the same result.
In another study, it showed that using gardening to improve people’s mental health was effective in effectively treating people suffering from dementia. In Norway and the Netherlands, among the participants in their Greencare programs were people with dementia. These individuals work in gardens and farms for a good part of the day.
These days people are stressed by the current situation, especially after new variants of the coronavirus emerged. But they can fight the stress and anxiety they are feeling through gardening. Studies have shown that people can recover from stress faster when they do gardening.
The level of the hormone called cortisol shows this decline in stress levels in their bodies. Aside from recovering from stress, people who do gardening work also return to a positive mood after working in the garden.
Gardening also improves the mood of a person and increases his self-esteem. When people work in the garden, they will feel their anxiety levels go down. With this, any feelings of depression will also slowly disappear.
Another study involving people who suffered from depression showed an improvement in their outlook after participating in a garden intervention activity for at least 12 weeks. The researchers noted that the mental health of the participants improved. Depressive symptoms gradually disappeared. Researchers continued to monitor these improvements even a few months after the study ended. Due to this, gardening is a good way for a person to fight anxiety and depression.
Gardening offers more than just a source of produce for homeowners. It also allows them to deal with the current situation until everything goes back to normal.