A month ago, we received a lovely email from one of our customers concerned for others afflicted with fibromyalgia. She stated that gardening has helped her work through symptoms with her chronic illness by providing her with a type of physical activity that has proven to be highly therapeutic. She believes gardening benefits the mind, body, and soul and it provides stress relief, physical activity, and stimulation for her brain.
She has written an article about her observations and sent it to us for others to read. It is our hope that you may find wisdom in her words and inspiration in your garden.
There is no question that gardening provides health benefits on multiple fronts. It makes for a great form of exercise for people of all ages and it has been shown to reduce stress and even help with issues of depression. In addition to the benefits that come via physical activity and mental health, gardening can provide significant stimulation for the brain as well.
Gardening has a positive impact on brain health
Gardening helps to keep one’s mind sharp in multiple ways. For example, Eartheasy details that studies have found that daily gardening can improve your brain health and significantly reduce the risk for dementia. The process of gardening involves numerous brain functions and all of that activity provides strength in ways far beyond what most people would realize.
Huffington Post notes that some studies have shown that gardening is linked to mental clarity, and it also promotes problem solving, learning, and sensory awareness. Gardening is known to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, but evidence points toward it also strengthening the brain and reducing the risk for Alzheimer’s to a degree that cannot be ignored.
Gardening is accessible to nearly everybody
Slow Aging shares that increased physical activity is a key strategy for improving your brain function as you age, and gardening is an activity that almost anybody can do to some degree. Even if it is too difficult to get out on your own or do any kind of intense exercise, you can probably garden to some extent.
If you do not have the space for an outdoor home garden, you can look at doing some version of an urban garden. This may involve plants kept indoors or pots you maintain on your patio or balcony, or it could be via community gardening where multiple people share one space for their gardening. Some people may turn to utilizing a solar greenhouse, and the wonderful thing about gardening is that it can be done on a large scale or a small one.
Gardening can be done by anybody at any age, as even children benefit from the brain-building that comes from digging in to create a garden. PBS explains that there is evidence that children who begin gardening at a young age score higher in science achievement tests than kids who don’t, and the process of gardening can develop an inquisitive mind in a young child.
Brain health is impacted by gardening in many ways.
Adults who embrace gardening, both young and old, benefit from the brain-boosting that naturally develops throughout the process. Many people notice that their concentration improves, and this helps them recover more easily from mental fatigue. Oftentimes, those who are older and experiencing memory problems are able to recall key details about gardening, providing them an opportunity to strengthen their brain and feel connected to memories from their younger days.
The process of gardening stimulates your brain as you have to plan what to plant, schedule what needs to be done when, and tackle options like whether you do or don’t use herbicides. There is a problem-solving element to gardening that strengthens your brain and many people challenge themselves by learning new techniques or about new plants in the process, another brain booster.
When people think of the benefits of gardening, they typically consider the physical activity and mood-enhancing opportunities that come from digging in the dirt and watching a garden grow. There is growing evidence, however, that gardening provides wonderful opportunities to build brain strength and improve mental clarity as well. Given the variety of ways that people can garden, and the fact that gardening boosts brain power of people of all ages, it is no wonder that this is a favorite hobby of many.
[Image via Pixabay]