College of DuPage Nursing Student Sayre Lluvia shared with Healthy Lombard that as the days grow longer and the weather gets nice, people will be more excited to go outside and enjoy it. Unfortunately, the pandemic is still ongoing and although there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel, it is important that people maintain social distancing and follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, 2020) guidelines. A great way to enjoy the weather safely is gardening. Apart from staying socially distant, gardening provides numerous benefits.
According to Cleveland Clinic, approximately 42 % of the American population are deficient in vitamin D (Thompson, 2018). People can get vitamin D from dietary intake, vitamins, and the sun. Being outside in the sun stimulates the production of vitamin D.
Vitamin D is essential for calcium absorption and for strong healthy bones. Spending time gardening requires one to be outside in the sun, which exposes them to sunlight and allows their body to produce sufficient vitamin D.
Feeding America (n.d) stated that due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, more than 42 million people may experience food insecurity. Growing produce at home can help provide a meal to people’s families during these uncertain times. Moreover, when gardening, fewer pesticides are used as well as fewer preservatives. Gardening fruits and vegetables provide high-quality food and nutrition that everyone can benefit from, and any excess produce can easily be donated to local food pantries. Best of all, having fresh produce around encourages healthy eating habits.
Gardening is good for both mental and physical health. Gardening requires activities such as bending, pulling, raking, watering and moving. It may not seem like traditional exercise, but it is exercise nonetheless. Gardening is considered a low-impact exercise and is, therefore, feasible for persons of all ages. Gardening has also been shown to improve mental health. It helps people be more accepting of things and mindful and requires spending time outside, in the sun, which wards off depression and reduces anxiety (Gilihan, 2019). Additionally, eating healthier can improve depression (Thompson, 2018).
Gardening is a wonderful way to improve quality of life, especially during the ongoing pandemic. Spending time outside improves vitamin D levels. Home-grown food is healthier and has a plethora of health benefits. Spending time outside gardening requires physical movement that qualifies as exercise, among other things, that are shown to improve physical and mental health. With all of these benefits one might start to wonder, “is it time for me to start gardening?”.
Thompson, R. (2018). Gardening for health: a regular dose of gardening. Clinical medicine (London, England). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6334070/.
Hunger in America is growing. Feeding America. (n.d.). https://www.feedingamerica.org/hunger-in-america.
Gillihan, S. J. (2019). 10 Mental Health Benefits of Gardening. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/think-act-be/201906/10-mental-health-benefits-gardening.
Social Distancing Keep a Safe Distance to Slow the Spread. https://www.cdc.gov/. (2020, November 17). https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/social-distancing.html.