Beans, potatoes, carrots, and self-esteem…growing in our little garden at St. Anne’s

This past week, we planted a little vegetable garden in a soil-filled bathtub on our west patio. But did you know that gardening is actually considered “moderate cardiovascular exercise” by the CDC, according to one online article. It burns calories (200-300 per hour) and doing so several times a week can be a good way to fight obesity, according to this same source. They also noted that, according to the American Horticultural Therapy Association, “gardening can benefit people who are recovering from physical illness by retraining their muscles and improving coordination and strength.” Gardening is also good in that it causes you to stretch and move around. It is a form of exercise which is easier for people with certain health challenges that make more strenuous exercise not practical, according to the below-mentioned CNN article. However, nextavenue.org suggests that one change body positioning frequently to avoid “overusing or overburdening any one area of the body.” Proper bending technique (using the knees rather than the waist) is also recommended to avoid problems. According to care2.com, gardening can increase your muscular volume and strength. An article by CNN cited some less tangible benefits of “getting down in the dirt,” including stress relief, fighting depression, and possibly even decreasing risk of dementia. They say that a bacteria found in soil can increase serotonin in the brain. I started gardening with our residents last spring as a fun activity for them to enjoy. I don’t expect much of a vegetable yield from such a small space, but I do hope it yields the fruit of improved mood and a sense of accomplishment.

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