Health Benefits Gardening
Hey babes! Want to know one of the secret health benefits gardening has to offer? Now, I’m not talking about getting outside and getting sweaty with yard work, although doing physical activity in the sunshine offers tons of benefits itself, but rather let you in on a little secret that’s been really working for me: indoor gardening. I don’t mean growing my own herbs and veggies in my fancy kitchen hanging planter, because honestly I had a hard time keeping my cactus alive as a kid. The health benefits I’m talking about are a side effect of the actual act of gardening more than the effect of reaping the literal fruits of your labor – the physical benefits of gardening.
As you guys probably already know, stress is the biggest hindrance to success in the health and fitness arena. Keeping your cool in stressful situations is important for overall health and disease prevention, as well as trimming up in the midsection. When you become stressed, cortisol is released into your bloodstream, and WILL cause belly fat storage, no matter how much you workout and eat right! One extremely effective tip for reducing stress is to have a certain time set aside each day to mindfully relax, whether you choose to stretch or practice RESTORATIVE YOGA, drawing recreationally, or, you guessed it, indoor gardening! When you are just starting out trying to quiet your mind, it’s very difficult to shut off your brain and keep your thoughts from running away with all the things on your to-do list or any other worries and stresses that swirl around in your head all day. When your body is tired, you give it a break by lying down and relaxing your muscles. When your brain is overrun and your stress level is high, it only makes sense that you should give it a break to rest and rejuvenate! Sitting in your floor cross-legged and telling yourself to stop thinking might not be the most sensible way to go about resting your brain and controlling your stress response. In fact, if you’re anything like me, making myself be still only makes me antsy and frustrated, which causes my body to release even more cortisol and only perpetuates the problem. When I want to practice controlling my mind and retrain my brain to fight stress, I need a quiet activity that allows my brain to turn off while my hands are kept busy. Which is where the mental health benefits of gardening come into the picture…
The other day, I was driving downtown when I saw the cutest yellow house-turned-business with a sign out front advertising “Sunshine’s Miniature Trees, House Plants, and Bonsais.” I could almost hear my inner Mr. Myagi telling me to go in, and 30 minutes and many mosquito bites later, I emerged cradling my very own baby bonsai tree tucked into a cardboard box. I drove home with it on my lap the whole way, like a proud parent of a new little puppy. I named him “Baby Bonsai” because I am extremely clever and creative, and began reading about how to properly care for a bonsai. It turns out, there is so much you can do to keep up with an indoor tree! I set it up a nice area in my dormer windowsill, and every few days I water it (a process where you soak it for 15 minutes, rinse the leaves, and make sure it’s still comfortable in its small pot). On the other days, however, you can trim and shape your tree, weed out the stems growing in the wrong direction, feed it and keep its moss moist, arrange the rocks inside the pot, and even harvest some of the berries or leaves if you have a tea tree like mine. Performing these small tasks does not require much brain power, so you can focus on breathing deeply and calming your nervous system. It’s commonly known that forming a new good habit can take the place of a bad habit; in this case, the bad habit is stressing yourself out, and the good one is taking care of your own little windowsill garden. Any kind of plant will do! If you enjoy flowers, plant some that require only an hour or two of sunlight a day so they can live off of the sun from your window! If you want purified air and more oxygen in you room, plant a miniature banana plant– their large leaves purify the air better than most other indoor plants, plus, bonus: they produce real bananas!! Miniature orange trees also purify the air, and the small oranges they produce are great for jams and jellies, plus they really brighten a room with the happy colors (and we’ve already talked about the benefits of lemon water)
Basically, indoor gardening can boost your health by helping you get your stress levels under control, plus providing you with clean oxygen and a brighter mood. What’s not to love?
I hope you guys are inspired to create your own windowsill garden, and and enjoy your stress-free gardening zone everyday!
Keep living that fit life, beauties!