Gardening and Health

jardinageSpring has arrived, and with it, warmer weather (for some) and newly-grown trees, plants and flowers. Dedicate some time this season to starting your own garden; you don’t need a green thumb or even a yard to start growing your own garden this Spring. Gardening is not only a fun pastime, but it is also great way to promote your physical and mental health:

Physical Health: Gardening is mild form of exercise that combines physical activity with stretching; since it’s a low-impact activity, gardening is especially good for people who suffer from chronic pain. Spending time in the sun is a good way to soak up Vitamin D, which strengthens the immune system.  Studies also found that gardeners tend to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables. Even the dirt itself is good for you; the bacteria common in soil, Mycobacterium vaccae, helps alleviate asthma and allergy symptoms.

Mental Health: Besides being a good way to stay healthy, gardening is good for your mental well-being. Research found that gardening improves mood and reduces depression symptoms. Gardening lowers Cortisol levels (known as the stress hormone), supports positive self-esteem, and lowers a person’s risk of developing dementia. Simply looking at a garden can induce calmness and positive feelings.

Start your own garden in your yard or a room in your house. Start with some sturdy houseplants like a Jade plant, a Croton, or hang a Boston fern in your kitchen. Or, plant cherry tomatoes, beans, or peppers in a large bucket (poke holes in the bucket to drain off water) and place the bucket on a porch or balcony. Herbs used in cooking are also an easy introduction to gardening since they sprout in sunny corners and can grow in small planters.

Find nearby gardening and hardware stores using Real Local Pages (RLP). RLP is an online directory containing listings for businesses and services located throughout the United States. Search by visiting the RLP website, http://www.reallocalpages.com, and entering your city. Locate local businesses by entering search terms like “garden” into the search box, or, choose a search term from the popular categories list on the home page. The results page will display the address and phone number of the business. Use Real Local Pages to find a variety of businesses and services, from lawn care experts to hobby supply stores.