A balcony vase or a generous plot of land makes no difference. There are many ways to get into gardening. Some simply practice it to relax and prefer to grow flowers and aromatic plants, less demanding but equally satisfying, and some see it as a way to get fresh and controlled products at home. In any case, this activity is able to give many benefits to the body and mind, a claim that is also supported by specialists. We talk about this topic with Professor Daniela Lucini, head of the section for exercise medicine at Humanitas.
Less stress thanks to outdoor activities
Seeing a plant grow, water and care for it, day after day, can be very relaxing and also a way to stay outdoors by exercising and performing physical activity. According to experts, a minimum of 30 minutes a day of gardening is comparable to moderate sports activities that are suitable for all ages and free from side effects. Managing a garden is a commitment that becomes daily at certain times of year and which, at certain times, requires strength and traction. Nevertheless, it is an activity that can be performed without fear even in later life or with children.
“Gardening is a type of physical activity that helps to strengthen muscle strength, it is not particularly intense and it is performed regularly – commented Professor Daniela Lucini, head of the section for exercise medicine at Humanitas. When exercise requires special efforts such as hoeing it is important to deal with it through the correct physical preparation. This type of training, which can certainly be beneficial, cannot replace the aerobic activities recommended in the prevention of diseases such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension and cancer.
Sun and vitamin D
Being outdoors daily allows you to expose yourself more easily to sunlight (remember that it is always recommended to wear sun protection when exposed to the sun) and obtain the right supply of vitamin D. Exposure to natural light is also healthy and recommended because it stimulates the production of serotonin, a hormone that regulates sleep and stimulates appetite and good mood.
The repetitiveness of the actions and the natural framework within which they are practiced, make gardening a perfect anti-stress activity, able to teach patience and responsibility and to strengthen the link with nature and its rhythms.
From the garden to the table
Knowing where the fruit and vegetables that end up on our table come from has a huge advantage: it allows us to consume fresh and seasonal products regularly, as prescribed by dieticians and nutrition experts, who recommend consuming at least 5 portions per day.
If we succeed in involving children in outdoor activities and plant care, gardening will also become the first step in an effective food education that, starting from shapes, colors, scents and flavors experienced as a game, will teach children to appreciate and consume food with high nutritional value without too much whim.