It’s the unofficial official start to gardening season in Calgary. While gardening can feel like a useless time wasting endeavour for any non green thumbs, gardening has plenty of health benefits for everyone.
- Growing fruits and vegetables gets people to eat more fruits and vegetables. While this is particularly evidenced in kids who usually shy away from anything resembling a vegetable but can’t wait to pick and eat the next batch of beans or tomatoes that they’ve planted, it’s also true for adults. Some good vegetables and fruits to grow in Calgary include zucchinis, beans, radishes, raspberries, rhubarb and carrots just to name a few. And if it turns out that pesky rabbit eats everything don’t fret, growing them will still get you more interested in eating fruits and vegetables, even if you didn’t grow them yourself.
- Gardening can help people destress. Gardening is great to slow down your life and destress. It is shown to lower cortisol levels more than reading a book. And for anybody that is trying to practice mindfulness it can be an easier way to enter a mindful state. It may also help with depression and dementia.
- Gardening gets you outside. It’s good to get outside and get some sunlight and Vitamin D every day and even though Calgary’s spring and summer are short, this can still be hard to prioritize. While the avid runner or cyclist may have no problem getting outside everyday, for everyone else having a garden and needing to check up or water it everyday is some great motivation to take some time outside.
- Gardening gets you away from a screen. Screen time is becoming a bigger and bigger draw of time for everyone so anytime that people can get away from staring at a screen is a good one.
- Gardening can give you a sense of purpose. Whether you’re unemployed, underemployed, hate your job or are failing at something, gardening can give you a sense of purpose. There’s something great about taking over a space and cultivating it into a beautiful flower garden or being able to grow your own veggies.
- Gardening can help your microbiome. There’s more and more research coming out about your microbiome, the bacteria in our bodies. Getting exposed to some bacteria is actually a good thing and soil is abundant in it. In particular soil contains mycobacterium vaccae which may help make people less anxious and happier.
- Gardening makes you move around. While gardening is by no means the most strenuous or whole body exercise, it is something that almost everybody can do. It can help with hand strength and dexterity and motions like kneeling down and getting up, crouching and reaching can put you into positions that you don’t normally use in daily life or even while working out, which can be good for you. Do make sure you use caution as with any other physical activity.