By: Ann M. Swank
Spring is almost here!
Every year at this time, like so many otherpeople, I can’t wait to get out in mygarden—a place that, since last autumn, hasnot received enough of my attention.
Gardening, including lawn care andlandscaping, has overtaken fishing as thenumber one leisure-time activityfor Americans.
There are four major reasons that I lovegardening:
- Gardening is a low-cost physical activity.
- Gardening encourages quiet andcalm behavior.
- “It is not true that life is one damn thingafter another. It’s one damn thing over andover.” —Edna St Vincent Millay
- Gardening is a proven stress and anxiety reducer.
While gardening, I can be working hardphysically without even realizing it, but thecalories expended still count. Gardeningoffers all the important fitness benefitssuch as building muscular strength, aerobicendurance and flexibility.
Two of my worst habits are talking too muchand trying to do things too fast. Gardeningis one activity that calms you down, slowsyou down, and promotes tranquility. Getout in the garden on a sunny morning andenjoy the sounds of bees buzzing and birdschirping.
Our lives are made up of routines. We wakeup, drink our coffee, read the paper, go towork, say hello and goodbye to our familyand friends, come home, eat dinner, go tobed, and so on.
To be successful in life, we must find ways tobe contented with our routine. Gardening isone routine labor for which there are instantas well as long-term rewards. In just halfan hour, I can have a more attractive yardjust by mowing the grass and tidying thepathways. And I can expend a few caloriesin doing so. In the long term, after plantingflower bulbs in the autumn, I can lookforward to crowds of tulips and daffodilsevery spring for years to come.
Anecdotal evidence demonstrates thatgardening improves patients’ moods anddecreases disruptive behavior. Gardening isbeing used therapeutically more and more innursing homes and day centers everywhere.
As I write this column, my hometownis under nearly 15 inches of snow, but Iknow that it won’t be long before I amback working in my yard. I cannot wait. Iencourage you to do the same and enjoy thebenefits of playing in the dirt and workingwith plants.