The health benefits of spending time in your garden

Gardening is now on par with traditional exercise as a health-promoting activity. It has become highly regarded for its physical, mental and spiritual benefits. A study by the University of Arkansas found gardening to be more effective than jogging, swimming, and walking for protection against osteoporosis.

Tasks such as digging, composting, raking and planting deliver an excellent workout for people of all ages, according to information posted on the Ontario Ministry of Health Promotion’s website, HealthyOntario.com. (HealthyOntario.com is Ontario’s resource for health and wellness information.) These tasks require the same energy as aerobic activities while they strengthen limbs and muscles and promote flexibility.

It would appear, however, that gardening has a health component all its own. Fitness specialists point to the untold benefits to be had in spending time outdoors, in getting our hands dirty to make things grow, in seeing the rewards of our work and literally stopping to smell the roses as we go. Gardening is known to deliver a steady and significant psychological boost.

It is not necessary, therefore, to feel you must do strenuous, heart-pumping aerobic activity to maintain your physical fitness. Canadian and American research shows that just 30 minutes a day of moderate exercise — such as gardening — will help you control your weight and reduce your risk of developing, or dying from, such chronic conditions as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and colon cancer.

Source: News Canada