What Gardening May Do For Your Health

Health Tips

Walking, hiking and jogging are generally the first things that spring to mind when you think of hot-weather activities that are beneficial for your health. Gardening, on the other hand, is a popular activity with numerous advantages and an extra bonus.

Even if you don’t have the greenest of thumbs, there are several physical and mental health advantages to digging in the dirt and planting a few seeds. And what about the bonus? He exercises and tends to a basket of tomatoes, peppers, or a variety of other fruits, vegetables, or ornamental plants.

However, some people believe that gardening might be damaging to your body, particularly your spine. But don’t be concerned. We chatted with neurosurgeon and spine expert Deborah Benzil, MD, on how gardening gets you right and how to get started.

Prevention of osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a disorder in which bones weaken, lose mass and strength, and are more prone to fractures. It affects nearly 50 million individuals in the United States alone, is more prevalent in persons over 50, and affects more women than males.

“Our bones naturally weaken as we age, making them more prone to fractures and breaks,” explains Dr. Benzil. “While such fractures can be caused by a fall, if the weakening of the bones becomes severe enough, such fractures, particularly in the spine, can be caused simply by coughing or leaning over.”

A good diet along with other factors can help prevent osteoporosis. Gardening checks several of the boxes.

How healthy is gardening?

According to Dr. Benzil, the health advantages of gardening are numerous and all contribute to one important goal: the prevention of osteoporosis.

D vitamin

“First and foremost, get out,” advises Dr. Benzil. “You can breathe that fresh air and get some vitamin D from the sunlight.” Regular and safe exposure to sunshine several times per week is necessary for providing your body with the key vitamin that maintains bones healthy and aids in calcium absorption.

Mental health

According to Dr. Benzil, gardening on a daily basis offers several benefits for brain health. While many studies have focused on how gardening is good therapeutic therapy for persons with dementia, there has also been research demonstrating that gardening is one of several hobbies that may help prevent dementia.

Advantages for mental health

According to Dr. Benzil, gardening offers certain mental health advantages as well. Aside from the mood boost that comes from being outside in the fresh air, there is a sense of accomplishment that comes from watching your plantations develop and bloom.

“Gardening provides a sense of fulfillment and care since you can see the flowers, smell the fresh garden, and bring your fresh food,” she explains. “You can see the development and experience a sense of satisfaction.”

It can also give opportunities for social engagement with others, whether in your own garden or in a communal garden. “The moment you go out into your yard, you’re likely to see your neighbors or other individuals with whom you may engage,” she says.

And, as Dr. Benzil points out, gardening was a terrific way to engage during the worst of the COVID-19 epidemic. When the social distance was essential. “People maintained mingling in their gardens. A secure method to communicate to people at a time when face-to-face contact was highly limited.”

Weight-training exercises

Everyone knows that exercise is important for you, but gardening strikes the right balance. Especially for individuals at higher risk of osteoporosis: it not only provides an activity that can build your bones, but it is also simple for people of all ages.

“You get cardiovascular and muscular training in a pool, but you don’t utilize your bones,” adds Dr. Benzil. “Gardening provides such stimulation through weight-bearing activity, such as walking and using garden tools.” You’re using those muscles in a way that promotes bone and muscular strength.” He believes it is the greatest sort of exercise for preventing bone weakening.

Extension

While you may not believe that stretching is necessary for gardening, Dr. Benzil tells us that it is. Light stretches and warming up before you start to relax your muscles and prepare them for the activities you’re going to conduct. Such as bending down and digging.

Stretching afterward is as, if not more, vital. “Take 10 to 15 minutes to take a really deep stretch, especially for your upper and lower back,” she advises. “These areas are subjected to a lot of stress while gardening, and if you don’t use good form and stretch. You might end up hurting your spine.”

Consider a raised garden if you have back difficulties so you don’t have to bend over as much, placing stress on your spine and back muscles.

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