HOW DOES YOUR WELL­NESS GROW?

Gar­den­ing is more than a means to an end. When you gar­den you also:

Best Health - - WELLNESS NEWS -

AD­VANCE FIT­NESS

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.

PRO­MOTE HAP­PI­NESS

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.

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