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Reap the health benefits of gardening

Gardening provides many physical and mental benefits
Gardening provides many physical and mental benefits
Photo by Matthew Lloyd/Getty Images

We all know that gardening is an activity that gives many of us great satisfaction. It is enjoyable to watch a garden progress from mere seeds to a bountiful harvest. Gardeners are not just in touch with nature, they are actively participating parts of nature. In addition to these good feelings, there are many health benefits to growing a garden that we may not think of immediately. Here are a few.

Increased physical strength. Lifting bags of soil and buckets of water is great for building strength. Be careful and use proper lifting techniques to prevent injuries.

Improved flexibility. Bending and stretching helps keep a person limber. Reaching for weeds and ripe vegetables are perfect stretching exercises.

Cardiovascular health. Physical activity involved in gardening can improve heart health. Although gardening is not as rigorous as running a marathon, garden tasks are much better for the heart than sitting in front of the television.

Therapy. Gardening can help people with disabilities or those recovering from an injury to regain movement and help with recovery.

Mental/Emotional. Gardening can relieve stress and ease depression. In fact many people claim “Gardening is cheaper than therapy, plus you get tomatoes.” Additionally, horticulture therapy is sometimes used to help people recover from alcoholism and drug addiction.

Nutrition. Ah, the best part! Vegetable gardeners know well, the flavor and satisfaction of harvesting and eating their own fresh produce. Best of all, everyone knows veggies are good for you.

Good luck and good gardening!

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