Gardening and beekeeping: outdoor hobbies supporting physical and mental health.
Did you know that gardening and beekeeping promote physical and emotional well-being? Both hobbies require a lot of work; however, gardening and bee enthusiasts don’t mind the labor. Plus, they are reaping many healthy rewards!
Gardening to enhance physical health
Recent studies indicate gardening is beneficial for physical well-being. Here is a breakdown of its health-boosting effects.
Increases stamina and strength
Gardening tasks such as digging and shoveling are labor-intensive, whereas raking and grass cutting require less effort. When you combine all the physical movements used in cultivating, every muscle group in the body is activated. If you maintain a regular gardening schedule, you will likely notice improvements in your strength and cardiovascular health.
Promotes vitamin D production
As long as you stay protected with sunscreen, sun exposure when gardening can actually help you by stimulating the production of vitamin D. Known as a disease fighter, vitamin D supports the bones and the immune system and is essential for maintaining bodily functions.
Aids memory and attention
One Korean-based study, published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, found neural improvements associated with memory in a group of dementia patients who spent time gardening. Currently, Norway and the Netherlands implement Greencare programs, which promote gardening and farming for memory-impaired patients.
In addition to memory, gardening improves attention. Rather than getting distracted by phones, conversations and other people, gardeners tend to focus continually on one task. Doctors recommend exercise and outdoor activities to improve symptoms of ADHD.
Encourages healthy eating
Another reason for gardeners’ good health is their access to nutritious food. A well-managed vegetable garden provides an abundant supply of fresh produce to include in your meals. You can also save some trips to the grocery store by trekking a few steps to your harvest of juicy tomatoes or succulent squash.
Pairing gardening and beekeeping to aid mental health
Bee pollination maximizes the yield and quality of crops, as well as promotes the growth of flowers. The pairing of beekeeping and gardening results in reciprocal benefits for the garden and the gardener/beekeeper.
Increases self-esteem and a sense of accomplishment
Similar to gardening, beekeeping requires commitment and patience because you won’t see the results of your work right away. Once your bee colony grows, however, you will know what you’ve accomplished, and how you’re contributing to the ecosystem. You can also try harvesting honey with honey extractors. Whether you keep small amounts of honey or sell it commercially, you’ll be proud to offer a product you developed on your own (with help from the bees).
Reduces stress and anxiety
People who have struggled with mental health issues often report feeling less stressed and depressed when working in gardens or bee colonies. Gardeners and beekeepers also tend to feel more calm and relaxed when working outside. One reason for the mood boosts could be sun exposure, which causes a rise in serotonin levels.
If your community sponsors a garden, you may want to help to maintain it. Attending group gardening or beekeeping events is a way to meet like-minded people who share your hobby. You may make new friends, pick up useful tips, and feel good about contributing to the project.
Although gardening and beekeeping may not be everyone’s cup of tea, they may be ideal hobbies for you if you’re physically active and enjoy spending time outdoors. Plus, your doctor may even prescribe a day in the garden or an afternoon with the bees rather than a trip to the pharmacy.