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Canberra
Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Good, dirty fun … in the garden

With all the spring rain we had in Canberra, our gardens and parks are as green and lush as I can remember. You may have been out tackling knee-high lawn (or was that just me?) as well as an abundance of weeds that have also flourished since the wettest October for 44 years. If so, you may like to know there is considerable evidence that gardening is good for your health.

Time spent in the garden is …

… Good for your mind

Studies have shown that spending time gardening alleviates stress and can reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. We know spending time in nature is beneficial (have a look at the research into ‘park bathing’). Whilst spending time in the garden, not only are you surrounded by the plants and fresh air, you have a focus that takes you away from everyday concerns. Similarly, gardening can boost self-esteem. As you plant and water and nurture your garden, you get to see something grow and thrive. If you can grow a garden, even tend to some pots on your balcony, then who knows what else you’re capable of achieving.

… Good for your body

Gardening can be hard work but the kind of work your heart likes. Digging, planting and weeding burns calories, moves joints and tones muscles and can provide cardiovascular benefits. Not only that, if you get out early in the morning when the UV index is low, it’s a good time to safely top up your vitamin D levels.

… Good for the family

Sharing the love of gardens with your kids is a beautiful way to relax and spend time together. Not only that, exposure to dirt helps your microbiome (the same is even true for indoor plants) and can bring immune benefits like reduced allergies.

… Good for your community

With a network of community gardens dotted all around Canberra, there’s an abundance of opportunities to get your hands dirty and meet new people in your neighborhood. Even if you’re outside in your own garden, you’re more likely to be chatting to your neighbours over the fence or as they walk past. 

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