Gardening and Your Health: A Prescription for Wellness?

Gardening and Your Health: A Prescription for Wellness?

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Gardening for health is becoming more popular all the time. There is a new prescription on the market and doctors are prescribing it with increasing frequency. Patients are seeing an improvement in their moods and they’re feeling healthier, fitter, and stronger. What’s this new prescription doctors are handing out like candy? It’s a Green Prescription and they’re simply telling you to go play outside.

What are Green Prescriptions?

Hiking in the Woods

Doctors are always recommending their patients get more exercise, but now they’ve started to actually write prescriptions for it. And they suggest we do it in nature. This may involve a hike through the woods or spending time at the park. Alternatively, it could mean helping plant trees, or any activity that connects people with nature. Unless you’re a total fitness buff, going to the gym is a drag for most people. Doctors are finding that people who get their exercise outside are more likely to enjoy it. Therefore, they’re more likely to stick to their routine.

Doctors have also started prescribing Social Prescriptions. These are meant to encourage those with depression, anxiety, or loneliness to get out and connect with people. Social isolation can have a significantly negative impact on mental health. Instead of giving their patients pills, many doctors are encouraging them to get out and be part of their community. Some doctors are doubling up on these drug-free prescriptions. They’re suggesting people spend more time in local parks or community green spaces. This encourages people to get the most out of nature and healthy social interaction.

Gardening for Health & Exercise

Gardening for Exercise

One of the most common Green Prescriptions doctors are handing out is a suggestion to take up gardening. This could mean starting a garden in their backyard, setting up a greenhouse, or becoming involved in a community garden. Regardless of how you’re gardening, the fact remains that it can be a sweaty job. Gardening can keep you active and outdoors for hours. Between weeding, lifting bags of soil, hauling equipment around, and pruning all those beautiful flowers, it’s a workout.  Want more exercise? Grow a bigger garden!

Get Involved in Community Gardening for Health

Community Gardening

If you’re feeling lonely, plants can often act as a comfort. Many people who garden feel very connected to their plants. This can sometimes even feel like a form of socialization. Plants can’t chat back to you though. So, community gardening can be an incredibly fulfilling way to create some human connections. Many cities have plenty of community gardens already established. If there are none in your area, talk to neighbors who you think may be interested. Look for available land in your neighborhood, and petition your city to get one started.

A lot of cooperation and planning is required to successfully grow a community garden. Consider becoming a member of a shared gardening space. You may find comfort in being depended upon for the role you play making the garden grow. As any gardener knows, one of the most rewarding feelings is watching something you’ve planted rise out of the ground. There’s a sense of pride when it grows into a healthy, thriving specimen. Now think about sharing that experience with others who are as invested in the garden as you are. Those good feelings can be amplified infinitely.

Eating Fresh Produce

Garden Fresh Vegetables

Social interaction and exercise aren’t the only ways gardening can be good for your health. Start eating all those vegetables you’ve been growing, and you’ll improve your diet as well. Eating fresh veggies from your own garden provides you with a ton of awesome, organic nutrients. It also acts as the best encouragement to keep eating healthy. It’s fun to eat what you’ve grown, and it’s tragic to see all your hard work go to waste. Grow a bunch of your favorite fruits and vegetables. You’ll be more encouraged to stick to a healthy diet, and you’ll save money on your grocery bill.

Changing Our Outlook on Nature

As Green Prescriptions become more common, people start heading into nature to improve their health. As this happens, how we feel about the environment will start to change as well. The more society connects to plants, and the natural world, the more we’ll begin to respect our planet. And perhaps, as a result, we’ll want to care for all the green life that’s growing on it. Shifting how we see nature will have a huge impact on environmental protection, sustainable farming practices, and resource conservation. With a global shift in our feelings about nature, we can stop the damage being done to our environment. With time, we may be able to reverse and repair the harm that has already been done.

Gardening for Health - The Wrap-up

Whether you need more exercise, more social connection, or just need a way to de-stress, doctors are suggesting the outdoors as a cure for what ails you. Nature is hardly a cure-all miracle drug, but it is a cheap, easy place to start. It costs you nothing to spend a day in the park or hike on a local trail. And you have everything to gain by giving it a try. You can start a garden very cheaply. When gardening in a community you can even share cuttings of each other’s plants instead of buying new ones. You may find that once you get a little fresh air, a bit of exercise, and meet some people in your neighborhood, other symptoms or stresses you had will lessen bit by bit. Or they may simply fade away entirely.

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