- Author: Chris M. Webb
Today’s post is written by former Ventura County Cooperative Extension Advisor, Nick Sakovich. This inspiring and informative article originally appeared in the Hawaii Tribune Herald on June 16 of this year.
What activity is good for your heart and blood flow, can provide strength for the body, increase flexibility, relieve stress and, as a byproduct, produce good, nutritious food? Why, it's gardening, of course.
Gardening uses all of the major muscle groups. It provides all those physical exercises that are listed for the prevention of heart disease, obesity, adult-onset diabetes and high blood pressure. It also provides the strength training important in the prevention of osteoporosis.
And just looking at your gardening can be beneficial if you are recovering from illness. In a study in Uppsala, Sweden, 160 post-operative heart patients were asked to look at a landscape, an abstract artwork, or no picture. Those who looked at the landscape had lower anxiety, required less pain medicine and spent a day less in the hospital than the control group patients.
A University of Arkansas study on the risk for osteoporosis found only one other activity besides gardening that maintained a healthy bone mass: lifting weights. Gardeners themselves mention other benefits such as the satisfaction of producing their own produce and flowers, being outdoors, learning about horticulture and using gardening as an outlet for artistic expression. Many gardeners also found a sense of common purpose with their friends when working in community gardens.