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Hilal Her

Health Benefits of Gardening as a Hobby

August 2023

As Phyllis McGinley said, “A hobby a day keeps the doldrums away.” With 1440 minutes a day and 168 hours in a week, we certainly are spared with enough time to adopt a hobby in our lives. Amidst daily life’s chaos, maintaining a hobby ascertains harmony and contentment. Dan Buettner, an American author and explorer, studied the blue zones (five extraordinary places on Earth, where people are known for their longevity) and discovered one common hobby amongst many and that was gardening. A hobby is acquired out of one’s own interest and persistence converts it into a habit and that is when one reaps the benefits of that activity. 



Gardening as a hobby is always beneficial as it provides you with a great deal of satisfaction and calm. Your physical health will improve as a result of your calm mind. Gardens and landscapes have long been used as refuges from the strains of everyday life.
Gardening taken up as hobby is a fun and peaceful way to connect with nature, but did you know that it also has numerous health benefits? Gardening is a mentally and physically healthy pastime that may be enjoyed by people of all ages. You also get to consume the tasty fruits, vegetables, and herbs, or enjoy the beauty and smell of the flowers that you grow, in addition to enjoying all the natural beauty because of the greenery around you. Overall, gardening is a rewarding and satisfying hobby that offers physical, mental, social and environmental benefits. So take some tools and get your hands dirty to enjoy the benefits it brings to various aspects §of your life!



Health Benefits
Ever wondered why we feel calm and relaxed once we are out in the sun? Well, Andrew D. Huberman, an American neuroscientist encourages people to get exposure to the sun during 8am-10am, as it is the best time to soak in the sun for health benefits. Now, what actually happens is that while working in the garden and getting exposed to the sun, our bodies release serotonin, ‘a happy hormone’ that generates the feelings of joy and happiness in us.
The sunlight helps to synthesize vitamin D within our bodies, which contributes to our vitality and robustness. It is medically proven that when we have low vitamin D levels, we feel lethargic and sluggish. Vitamin D is directly responsible for our teeth and bone strength and also our immune system’s. In the long run, gardening helps in reducing the chances of osteoporosis and lessen any bone-related afflictions. 
While gardening might not seem to be an intense exercise, it definitely contributes to our heart health, stamina and strengthens our hands. From pulling out a weed to sowing a seed in the soil, hands have much to do. Digging the soil, uplifts our spirits. Digging stirs up microbes in the soil and inhaling them stimulates serotonin production. 
Watering plants, mowing the grass, pruning and moving pots from one place to another, all require strong hands. Because of the various actions involved, gardening develops agility and strength in our muscles and joints. This is one of the most significant advantages of gardening as it minimizes the danger of losing hand strength in later years.
Ageing is the ‘declining phase’ of human life. Therefore, one needs to be more vigilant when it comes to healthcare. One of the concerning factors of ageing is that we become forgetful. Now, there could be multiple reasons for it but one of the most pertinent ones is the absence of mental exercise.
A sedentary lifestyle leads to ailments like cardiovascular diseases, obesity and diabetes, and  also affects our brain functioning. Recent studies reveal that the key to longevity is in moving and the key to stay sharp in old age is in the fingers. From our fingers to our brain and back again, gardening meets all the needs as it involves both moving around and doing the little chores by using hands and fingers. It is a great mental exercise that strengthens our neurons and neural connections. Resultantly, our ability to react to our surroundings enhances with time. 
Adding kitchen scraps to the compost requires little physical strength but more of our attention. Likewise checking on worms or adjusting the water supply in a garden demands a vigilant mind. Hence, maintaining a garden facilitates longevity by lowering the risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia.
You must have read it many times that nature has a healing effect and that we need to be out in the nature to balance ourselves. The very sight of colorful flowers dangling in the garden releases endorphins also known as ‘happy hormones’ that uplift our mood and leaves a positive impact on our minds. While gardening, we find ourselves totally consumed, absolutely detached from all the worries of the day.
It is no wonder that one feels better after taking care of their garden for the day. The routine of tending to your plants and working with your hands helps to relieve stress and anxiety.
Productivity
A hobby disciplines us once we are hooked to it. When it comes to gardening, it needs our foremost attention as pulling out a weed or checking on the new grown bud requires the early morning hours. Therefore, getting up early comes as a follow up. Nature is at its purest form in the morning and the air is rich in oxygen released by trees during photosynthesis at night. 
Watching a seed grow into a tree fills one with a sense of accomplishment and gratitude. Being up early gives us ample time to plan, execute and achieve the goals assigned for the day. The time spent outdoors away from screens and mindless scrolling proves to be much healthier and productive, and helps improve focus and concentration on the task at hand. A garden binds us to a purpose.
Gratitude
Gardening eventually leads us to grow our own food. What supports the idea more is the concern of substandard food available in the market. The growing use of pesticides and fertilizers not just have adverse effects on the environment but also on the human health. Allergies and diseases concerned with nervous system, immune system and reproduction have grown exponentially in the recent times. 
Growing our own food visually educates us and instils gratitude as we keenly observe the growth of a tiny seed into a big plant. We value food more and waste nothing, knowing the labor and love that went in. 
Enhances Your Social Circle
If you find like-minded companions, gardening can be an enjoyable group pastime. Introduce gardening to your children and seniors at home, and enjoy the pleasures of family time while gardening. Looking after your garden, you will most likely attract other garden enthusiasts in the area and can begin exciting new garden initiatives with them!
Sustainability
Looking at the bigger picture, gardening contributes to healing mother nature by giving us an opportunity of living a sustainable life by helping us counter the impact of deforestation and pollution; taking up gardening as a hobby helps you make your contribution to the environment by filtering pollutants from the air, absorbing carbon, which ultimately reduces the carbon footprint. Right from sowing the seed straight out of homegrown food to making up our own compost from food scraps, everything organic goes into the earth without the usage of pesticides. Homegrown food is cheaper, fresher and most importantly organic. It looks vibrantly beautiful and tastes much better than the ones kept in the aisles of supermarkets.
After all of your hard work, the benefits of gardening as a hobby can be substantial! The rewards and benefits are unequalled, whether it is a little terrace garden, potted plants on the balcony, or a full-fledged lawn garden. HH


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