Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Gardening for Stress Relief


People often ask me what I like to do to relax and relieve stress.   One of the most effective stress busters for me is getting in touch with nature and connecting with the earth.  While there are many ways to accomplish that, one of my favorites is gardening.  

Gardening is a very healthy pastime.  Physical activity is a great outlet for tension and reduces your risk for a multitude of chronic diseases including heart disease, high blood pressure, depression and diabetes.  Digging, raking, planting and pruning will help build endurance as well as increase flexibility and muscle strength.  The physical activity will also strengthen your heart and lungs and help with weight control.  Just getting out in the sunlight and fresh air can boost your mood.  
If you think that you might enjoy gardening here are some suggestions to get you started.   
  • First, start small and plant things that you will enjoy.  If flowers make you happy then plant a few flowers or try container gardening.  Just a few potted plants might be enough.  Herbs are easy and rewarding to grow. 
  • Don't worry about the best way to do things.  The most important thing is to just get started!
  •  Keep your gardening to-do-list short.   Gardening shouldn't create additional stresses if you are doing it to reduce stress.
  • Remember to stretch before and after working in the garden to minimize potential aches and pains and be sure to take frequent breaks.  
  • Use good body mechanics when bending and lifting.    
  • Sit back and enjoy what you have accomplished.
Happy gardening everyone!

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