HOW DOES YOUR WELLNESS GROW?
Gardening is more than a means to an end. When you garden you also:
Pulling weeds, hauling wheelbarrows and pruning bushes are a surprisingly good workout. One study even found that gardening reduced heart attack and stroke risk in people age 60 and up.
DEVELOP A STRONGER IMMUNE SYSTEM
Experts believe that exposing yourself to a diverse range of microorganisms can help to build the immune system. “The immune system is always learning what is our body’s friend and what is its foe,” says Anne Biklé, a biologist and coauthor of The Hidden Half of Nature. In essence, the more your body is exposed to, the more “friends” it can make so you don’t launch an unnecessary immune response to those less familiar microorganisms.
EXPOSE YOURSELF TO VITAMIN D
Even with a coat of sunscreen and a nice big hat, you’ll still get a dose of vitamin D, which is important for good immunity and strong bones. The sunshine also helps promote a good night’s sleep by making sure your circadian rhythm is in sync.
Some research has found that people are happier when they’re exposed to certain bacteria in the soil. Biklé says she’s experienced this herself. “I liken it to a runner’s high, but it’s a gardener’s high.” She says she can lose track of time when she’s working in the garden. “I just feel exhilarated and elated, and it can be from anything as mundane as digging up a gnarly weed or spreading compost along a bed.”
Of course, every rose comes with a few thorns. Remember to wear bug spray to prevent bites from mosquitoes and ticks, and to change positions often — crouching in one spot for long periods of time can lead to muscle aches the next day.