When it comes to embracing a healthy lifestyle, many of us leap toward a gym or hot yoga routine, fill our cupboards with the best foods available, and find positive hobbies to keep our mental health on the upswing.
One activity capable of giving our bodies, and minds, a shot in the arm is gardening.
In many ways, gardening is one of those activities that may not be as vigorous as an hour on an elliptical, or an extensive therapy session, but it is certainly capable of helping you feel good.
“Ageless Gardens” is a visual celebration of gardens – and gardeners – with a special emphasis on the role gardens can play in healthy aging. Click here to find out when you can catch “Ageless Gardens” on One: Get Fit!
“Several recent studies have shown definitively that gardens are more than just our ‘happy places,’” offers Charlie Dobbin, host of ZoomerRadio’s ‘The Garden Show.’ “Anecdotally, we know we feel better after spending time outdoors – turns out there is science behind this good feeling. From Forest Bathing to Ecotherapy, nature-based programs and exercises can help patients cope with mental and physical illnesses.”
She continues: “Also, dirt actually does make us happy! Antidepressant microbes in soil cause cytokine levels to rise, which results in the production of higher levels of serotonin. Gardeners inhale the bacteria, have topical contact with it, and get it into their bloodstreams when there is a cut or other pathway for infection. So getting out and playing in the dirt can improve your mood and your life!”
Further to that point, Dobbin notes that helping a living organism stay alive can also have a substantial impact on one’s well being.
“Horticulture uses living materials that require nurturing and care,” says Dobbin. “The lifecycle of plants provides plenty of horticultural tasks and related activities to stimulate thought, exercise the body, and encourage an awareness of the living world.”