Looking for a new mind-body exercise? Try digging your hands into gardening!
Gardening relaxes your mind and gives your body a pretty good workout. Not only can you burn some serious calories, you’ll get some fresh air and have a great-looking yard when you’re done.
Studies show that being in nature has a soothing effect on the mind and body, relieving stress and lowering blood pressure, according to Karin Fleming, a registered horticultural therapist.
Reaping What You Sow
Here are just a few of the great benefits you can get from gardening:
- Your own fresh produce for summertime meals
- Fresh flowers to decorate your home
- Natural doses of healthy vitamin D
Gardening can also provide you with a social outlet. Share gardening tips with neighbors when your planting is done. If you live in an apartment, help friends tend their gardens or find a community garden. Don't have a community garden in your neighborhood? Start one of your own! Rooftop gardens also are a popular hangout if you live in the city.
While gardening isn’t considered a high-risk activity, you should take all necessary steps to stay safe. Here are five safety tips to remember for the next time you pull out your gardening tools:
1. Respect the weather
- Wear sunscreen and protective clothing outdoors. Remember that you can even get sunburned on a cloudy day.
- Have a cold bottle of water or lemonade handy to keep you hydrated.
2. Dress to Protect
- Use gardening gloves and long pants to protect your hands and legs from bug bites, thorns, scratches, and poison ivy.
- Use skid-free shoes keep you from slipping in mud or water.
- Use goggles to protect your eyes from flying debris.
3. Prepare your body for physical activity
- Warm up your body the same way you would before any other exercise.
- Stretch your back, arms, legs and neck before you dig in.
- Stretch out your muscles when you’re done gardening, too.