Homes and Property

Gardening for more than a healthy diet

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By  CONSTANCE OBONYO

Posted  Wednesday, May 28  2014 at  01:00

In Summary

As you plant vegetables in the small garden around your compound, you are not only working towards a healthy diet but also exercising.

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Up to now, you have probably been hearing about how gardening is good for your health. Well, proof is now available.
According to Rodale News, just a window box and a few house plants are sufficient to register improvements in your health.
They report that a number of studies are finding improved mental and health benefits of gardening that extend far beyond the obvious rewards of exercise and fresh air.

Improved satisfaction with life
Do you think your life could be better? Are you tired of your routine? Do you realise it could be a perception on your part? Better try gardening.

According to Rodale News, Professors from the University of Texas and Texas A&M asked 298 older adults how they would rate their “zest for life”, levels of optimism and overall resolution and fortitude. They found that gardeners had significantly higher scores in all these areas than non-gardeners.

Lower osteoporosis risk
Osteoporosis is a condition where a person abnormally loses bone tissue resulting in fragile porous bones, because of lack of calcium. It is most common among post menopausal women.

The physical activities that are part of gardening can trim weight, leading to better health. And they can also improve the condition of your bones.

This is because gardening is sort of a weight training, the study authors note; you have to pull weeds, dig holes, carry soil and compost and do other forms of weight-bearing activities that ward off osteoporosis.” Rodale News continues.

Lower risk of diabetes
According to the minister of State for Primary Health Care, Sarah Opendi, 20 male Ugandans are living with diabetes and 80 per cent of those do not know that they have it. So what can Ugandans who cannot afford to go to a gym do to keep diabetes at bay?

Gardening could help manage diabetes, Rodale News confirms: “One of the primary components of managing diabetes is getting enough physical exercise.

Active gardeners easily get more than the recommended 150 minutes per week of exercise; and those who garden just for fun get slightly less than that. Theyalso get a healthy diet. According to research from Kansas State University.

Better sleep
Is insomnia plaguing your life? Well, you don’t have to be suffering from lack of sleep to benefit from the better sleeping patterns that gardening can afford you. Rodale News concludes on the calming effects of gardening:

“The mental health benefits of gardening are strong that a field of medicine called “Horticultural Therapy” has been developed to help people who have psychiatric disorders deal with their conditions. Studies of people with dementia and anxiety have found that gardening helps calm their agitation, leading to better sleep patterns and improved quality of rest.

Dr Elipheleth Kambale of MSF (Medicin Sans Frontieres), Great Lakes Region agrees: ‘Yes, because it also lifts stress in the reproductive muscles; a pregnant woman seated in the garden with plants and flowers becomes stress free in her reproductive muscles.” So, what are you waiting for? Pull out the overalls, boots and hoe and start digging – it’s free!

editorial@ug.nationmedia.com