Gardening was always considered as a beneficial and healthy activity. With the emphasis slowly, but surely turning to healthy living, health experts opine that there's nothing like a bit of gardening to rev up your metabolism.
Dr. Julie Roth of the Wellness Institute at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago says that the best benefit of gardening is that exercise that you get when you bend down at your knees. "It's going to give you a good way to burn calories that's an enjoyable activity for most people," Roth said. She added that it is possible to burn 250 to 500 calories in the space of one hour depending on the level of activity.
Diane Relf, a professor emeritus with Virginia Tech's Department of Horticulture, says that trimming shrubs or even trees requires the same effort as moderate walking does, "Gardening is moderate -- and sometimes strenuous -- exercise that incorporates many important elements of accepted exercise regimes, such as stretching and stance, repetition and movement," Relf said. "Some gardening even involves resistance principles similar to weight training."
Experts also say that being close to Mother Nature acts as a soothing balm on your nerves and is good for mental health. "You're out in nature, which is a very soothing location. You can turn on whatever music you want. It's a good way to break away from the daily rigor we all go through," Roth said.
Relf said that a recent study from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City had found that women recovering from breast-cancer surgery were able to counter depression by walking around in the garden. "After a hard, tense day at the office, a slow cruise around the yard will do wonders to restore your perspective," Relf said. "As you discover seedlings emerging, flower buds opening, even the damage of the tomato hornworm, you forget about the day's worries."
Gardening is also a great way to ensure that you have access to your own fresh vegetables and fruits, this in turn means you have a good diet. "It gives you direct access to healthy food," Roth said. "Whatever you put in there, one way or another, it's going to be good for you."