Benefits of Gardening

By Loretta Baxter, Executive Director

          Gardening is beneficial for many reasons and is encouraged here at St. Monica’s. It is an enjoyable form of exercise and increased levels of physical exercise helps with mobility and flexibility. One of the side effects is that it reduces stress levels and promotes relaxation. How many of you have heard the saying, “I’m participating in dirt therapy”? There is something relaxing and at the same time stimulating about being outside in the fresh air, listening to birds singing, and planting flowers, or tomatoes and even pulling weeds.

          There are 5 health benefits of gardening including: exercise and burning calories, muscle-strengthening, exposure to vitamin D, stress-reduction, and improving brain function. *Http:// Individuals do not realize while they are bending and straightening to plant and pull weeds, they can burn 200 to 400 calories per hour. Gardening increases hand-eye coordination which helps keep the brain and body in sync. Spending time in the sunshine can give you as much vitamin D as a nightly glass of milk. Being active outside lowers stress-producing cortisol levels and raises serotonin; a calming chemical in the brain that puts you in a good mood.

          Life Engagement has already assisted St. Monica’s community members to plant flowers in the raised beds by the front patio and the party room patio. As soon as the weather warms, tomato and other vegetables can be planted. Let Life Engagement staff, Joan and Shannon, know if you are interested in participating. You will be achieving positive health results along with enjoying the outdoors. Please remember, if you are walking outdoors please let staff know and we will find you a walking partner.