Getting your hands dirty in the garden

Whether you think you have a green thumb or not, occasionally digging in and getting your hands dirty in the garden can be good for your mind, body and soul. And you can do just that by gardening for your health at Summit Pointe.

Feel healthier

Did you know that gardening is considered moderate physical activity? According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), you can burn as much as 330 calories in one hour of light gardening. That’s more than walking at a moderate pace for the same amount of time.

Also consider this: when you’re communing with nature, you also boost your oxygenation — after all, plants release oxygen into the air, so you breathe in that pure, fresh oxygen. That’s one of the many reasons you will feel energized while gardening.

And, when you’re exposed to the sun (remember to wear your sunscreen!), it prompts your body to make vitamin D — which is important for maintaining healthy bones and teeth and protecting against such conditions as Type 1 diabetes.

It’s also satisfying to grow your own herbs, vegetables and salad greens — as it goes from garden to plate. How’s that for gardening for your health?

Feel better

Gardening also can lower cortisol levels, the main stress hormone. Cortisol has many responsibilities, including regulating blood pressure, increasing your blood sugar, controlling your sleep/wake cycle and keeping inflammation down. If you’re stressed, your cortisol levels rise and can change or shut down functions. In a calm, green environment, your cortisol levels go down, says Gwenn Fried, manager of Horticulture Therapy at NYU Langone’s Rusk Rehabilitation.

Gardening also does wonders for your mind and mood. A study found that “working in the garden daily produced a 36 percent reduction in dementia risk.”  It also can make you relaxed and happier, thanks to the bacterium found in soil that may stimulate serotonin production. Serotonin is a natural anti-depressant and strengthens the immune system.  There’s a lot to be said for gardening. That’s why Summit Pointe offers raised garden beds, making it easy for residents to tend and grow a variety of flowers and veggies. It’s just one of the many activities that help keep residents young, happy and healthy.