Forget expensive gym memberships and fad diets, you only need to look out your window to discover the perfect holistic health hack – gardening.
“Gardening isn’t a pastime just reserved for older people with plenty of time on their hands,” explains Angie Thomas, Horticulture Consultant to Yates.
“It’s something that everyone can reap the many benefits from including physical activity and saving on grocery bills.”
And contrary to popular belief, you don’t need a ton of space to reap the rewards.
“It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a huge backyard. You can make gardening your new goal even with spaces as small as balconies, patios and even window sills,” she adds.
With that in mind, here are 5 reasons to unleash your inner green thumb.
1. It promotes weight loss
Move over, treadmill. Digging, planting, watering, mowing, weeding and pruning are all great activities for burning fat. In fact, according to the Centres for Disease Control, just half an hour in the garden can torch between 150 to 300 calories.
2. It makes you happier
Getting your hands dirty in the garden has been scientifically proven to increase serotonin levels through contact with soil and specific soil bacteria. Serotonin is a chemical that helps fight depression and improves our immune systems.
In addition, growing your own food in the garden (or window sill) releases a chemical called dopamine which triggers a state of mild euphoria. Dopamine can be released after seeing fruit and veggies grow, the smell and the action of picking them.
3. It’s wallet friendly
Growing your own veggies, fruit and herbs can be hugely rewarding for your savings. Tomatoes are a great example of a healthy food that can be easily grown at home on the cheap. If you convert one square metre of backyard into a tomato patch, you could produce them at a cost of $1.62 per kg compared to $6.50 per kg at the supermarket shelf.
4. It alleviates stress and anxiety
Setting your mind to a gardening task, such as planting herbs in pots, allows you to focus on the present moment (without having to sit in silence for hours). Mindfulness is a great tool for taking back control over your thoughts and feelings and keeping stress levels down.