If you’re looking for an excuse to get out in the sunshine and connect with nature, gardening could be a great addition to your healthy lifestyle. Gardening is the combination of several things found to be good for your health: moderate exercise, being outside and having access to healthy fresh fruits and vegetables. Plus, it’s a fun way to get your hands dirty and create something. 

 

Anyone and everyone can garden. 

Gardening is a particularly convenient hobby because it’s scalable. You don’t have to have a huge plot of land or a backyard. Folks who have a balcony or patio can still build their own garden. Instead of being planted in the ground, crops on a balcony garden can be planted in a series of pots or grow bags. With this method, you are able to move them around based on the sun. 

You can also buy or build a raised bed. These allow you to garden without having to bend over or put pressure on your knees by kneeling on the ground. These gardens tend to be easier to care for, as you avoid several pest control problems. 

If you do have a yard, this is a great chance to use some of that space. You can easily build a bed with plywood, soil and a hoe. You can also enjoy plants that take up more space like squash or watermelon. 

If you want to grow larger plants like corn, check with your city and see if there are garden plots available near you. Research shows community gardens are a great source of socialization, just be sure to follow social distancing guidelines and wear your mask. 

 

Gardening is moderate physical activity, so it counts as your “workout for the week.” 

Moderate physical activity, like gardening, is anything that gets your heart beating faster. The act of planting, digging and working the soil can raise your heartbeat, especially if you’re working a plot of land. This type of exercise is known to have benefits to your brain health, too. The CDC reports this kind of activity can improve memory and cognition, and reduce feelings of anxiety in adults. 

The CDC recommends 150 minutes of moderate physical exercise per week. That may sound like a lot, but you can split that up across those seven days. The amount of regular tending it takes to garden successfully means that exercise is built into this hobby.   

 

You can use your harvest in your cooking to add fruits and veggies to your diet. 

Fruits and veggies add fiber and vitamins to our diets. The American Heart Association recommends we eat a daily average of four and a half cups of fruits and veggies per day to maintain a healthy diet. 

The AHA also recommends planting the following fruits and veggies, which are simple and do well in many parts of the country during the summer: cucumbers, cilantro, basil, berries, tomatoes and radishes. These are all very heart-healthy, easy to grow and super delicious.

 

Visit the QualChoice website for more health and fitness tips.