Why Gardening is Good for Your Health

By Steve Asbell, The Rainforest Garden

Think of the garden as your own personal trainer, grocery store and self-help guru, all rolled into one!

You Get Exercise!

Since we usually just think of it as 'hard work,' gardening isn't the first thing you think of when you want to exercise. Your dad was right about how raking leaves builds character, but if you're too busy for traditional workouts, gardening is a convenient way to get into shape.

Try these gardening exercises to get into shape: For a relaxing low-impact workout, dig in the dirt, pull weeds and work the soil with a hoe or cultivator. If you're looking for something a little more challenging, try using a mattock to break into root-choked or rocky soil; use a machete to cut through brush; or dig an entire garden bed by hand. It's not as easy as it looks! The next time you mow the lawn, turn off the self-propelled feature and do all of the pushing yourself.

You Get Healthy Food!

Even if vegetables aren't up there with steak and eggs on your list of favorite things to eat, growing your own makes them much more appetizing. First of all, you get the satisfaction of watching those tomatoes grow from a single seed, and you are more likely to appreciate them on the dinner table. There are also lots of tastier and more attractive versions of the boring vegetables you would normally find at the grocery store. Since fresh ingredients are always right in the backyard, you'll never be without ingredients or inspiration for your recipes.

To make sure you always have healthy fast food from the garden, keep planting seasonally appropriate vegetable seeds throughout the year. Grow herbs so that you can easily jazz up your dishes or make herbal teas as an alternative to soft drinks. Plant fruit trees and bushes, and you'll have an increasing supply of tasty fruit each year!

You Get Mental Health!

If gardening feels like therapy, there's a reason. According to various studies, gardening daily can lower stress, fight depression and bring you focus. In a society reliant on gazing upon various glowing screens all day, time spent in the garden reconnects us to nature and gives our eyes and minds time to rest.

Get the most out of your personal garden therapy session by putting down your phone or tablet and taking the time to appreciate each detail ' every butterfly, spider web or new leaf deserves a second look and a good study. Growing vegetables from seed is a good study in patience, and nurturing your plants gives you a much needed sense of accomplishment.

However you choose to use the garden, the last thing you should do is fear failure. Every mistake is a lesson and there is no such thing as gardeners with a black thumb ' just impatient ones.