Most of us have heard the saying “April showers bring May flowers.” We didn’t have many April showers this year, but spring is a perfect time for gardening, and it’s been known to improve your mood! The COVID-19 pandemic confined many of us to our homes, and it is time to get outside. Last year, a study published in the journal Landscape and Urban Planning found gardening to be a major mood-boosting activity and it ranks as high as some common types of exercise, like cycling and walking. Since Aspire Health is focused on “choosing happy” this year and finding links between happiness and health, we decided to dive into this topic further.
Health benefits of gardening
Gardening provides fruits, herbs and vegetables for you to eat and flowers to decorate and scent your home, but studies have found additional health benefits. A 2014 PLOS One study found activities such as gardening can help combat Vitamin D deficiency in older adults. A 2017 study in Preventive Medicine Reports found a correlation between gardening and a reduction in anxiety and depression symptoms. Plus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says gardening provides a moderate level of physical activity.
A garden can be any size
Your garden does not need to be large and sprawling. You can garden on your balcony, porch or window ledge. Container gardening, also known as pot gardening, is the process of growing plants in containers instead of planting them in the ground. The Spruce has plenty of ideas and tips. Or visiting a local nursery is a great outing and you can usually get ideas from the staff on the best plants for your space.
Gardening as you grow older
Of course, soreness and stiffness might get in the way of gardening, but there are ways to safely garden without putting too much strain on your back, knees, and wrists. This article from the DIY Network talks about the benefits of raised beds and vertical gardens while also providing advice on the proper ways to bend, kneel and position your hand when pruning. Don’t forget to take breaks and enjoy your time gardening outside.
Gardening resources in Monterey County
The UC Master Gardeners of Monterey & Santa Cruz Counties train Master Gardeners who provide educational services to local gardeners through their Hotline, information booths, events, community and school gardens, workshops, classes, and more. Visit their website for more information and reach out by calling their hotline at (831) 763-8007 or filling out an online form.
This year, Aspire Health wants you to “Choose Happy” because “Healthy Starts with Happy.” We will continue to share activities and content showing how happiness can lead to better overall health. Follow along on our blog and social media pages (Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn) and share your journey with us using the hashtag #AspireChooseHappy.