With the arrival of summer comes an abundance of sunshine, warm temperatures, and maximum daylight hours. It’s definitely time to get outdoors and enjoy a little fun in the sun — garden fun, that is!
While working in your garden can be lots of fun, gardening has many practical benefits as well. From alleviating stress to weight loss to improved mental health, time spent in the garden gives back to us in so many wonderful ways.
Boost Your Vitamin D
After a long winter spent indoors, it’s positively blissful to get out in the sun and breathe fresh air again! One of the secrets that Coloradoans have known for years is that a little sunshine goes a long way towards improving your mood naturally.
What is relatively new knowledge is the fact that when exposed to the sun, your skin can manufacture its own Vitamin D. The role of Vitamin D (the sunshine vitamin) in keeping bones strong is already well-established. A Colorado summer will provide plenty of sunlight to boost the vitamin D levels in your body naturally.
Build Muscle & Lose
the Winter Pounds
Those seemingly endless garden tasks like digging, planting, weeding, watering, and mulching all keep you moving — and that’s good!
Here’s a fun fact: just thirty minutes of active gardening can burn up to 280 calories. You can banish weeds and pounds at the same time! Who needs a treadmill when you’ve got a garden?
Improve Your Diet Effortlessly
A natural extension of growing your own food is that often there is a change in your diet. After all, when you’re growing your own fruits and veggies, it goes without saying you’ll be eating what you grow!
The freshness and flavor of homegrown vegetables are what every gardener looks forward to. Fresh cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, and corn are the precious rewards for all those hours spent toiling in the garden. Superior taste and quality are just the beginning though. Those humble fruits and veggies are jam-packed with valuable dietary fiber, and fiber intake is linked to lower incidence of cardiovascular disease and obesity. They are also a source of important vitamins and minerals.
Enjoy the Positive Effects
on Your Mental Health
Many people like to get outdoors and dig in the soil because it just makes them feel good. Nowadays, it’s a great way to unplug from the ever-present digital devices and destress naturally.
It’s easier to relax and let go of stress while performing repetitive tasks, and gardening provides a lot of repetitive tasks. Recent studies show that what’s good for the body is also good for the mind. Working outdoors in the garden releases “happy hormones” like dopamine and serotonin. These are hormones that make us feel good, while at the same time reducing the level of destructive stress hormones like cortisol. While all of those gardening chores may be tiring, they are naturally dissipating excess energy which helps us sleep better at night.
Passing it Forward
to the Next Generation
It goes without saying that all kids just naturally enjoy playing in the dirt! Gardening can indulge that desire in a productive way. Kids are thrilled with unexpected garden surprises like digging up a carrot, radish, or potato!
Involving them in the garden provides invaluable teachable moments in life as well. Planting something and watching it grow will naturally teach children a sense of responsibility. If their first gardening experiences are fun and successful, they’re likely to develop a green thumb that will stay with them all their lives. Research suggests that gardening encourages a lifetime of healthy habits too. Try growing this year’s Halloween pumpkins in the garden. Learning to love growing your own food is a gift that will keep giving back to them for a lifetime.
The Element of Fun
George Bernard Shaw once famously said, “We don’t stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing.”
Having fun is not just for kids! It’s important at every age — in fact, it’s a basic requirement for good health in general. So why not add a little fun to your garden? You can introduce an element of whimsy with a kinetic sculpture or a wind spinner. You might choose to add an enjoyable glow to summer evenings with colorful solar stakes, or just sit back and relax while watching birds at play in a birdbath.
Summer’s here, but it won’t last forever! Make it a point to get out into your garden each day, and enjoy some summer fun in your garden.