Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Gym or the Garden?

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 nutritious food?  Why it’s gardening, of course.
Gardening uses all of the major muscle groups. It provides 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.  A University of Arkansas study on the risk for osteoporosis, found that besides lifting weights, gardening maintained a healthy bone mass.  

Even gazing upon the garden can be beneficial to those recovering from illness.  In a study in Uppsala, Sweden, 160 postoperative 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.

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.