Patio gardening has many health benefits for your overall health and wellbeing, and can have a significant impact on your heart heath. Engaging in gardening activities, even on a small scale such as a patio or balcony, can contribute to heart health. Since 1964 February has been noted as “Heart Month”, a month where organizations like The American Heart Association work to spread awareness of heart disease in the United States and ways that we can address our own heart health at home.
This February we explore the benefits of patio gardening for your heart health.
What is Heart Health?
Heart health refers to the state of the heart and circulatory system, which includes the blood vessels and arteries.
Diet and nutrition play a crucial role in heart health. A poor diet high in unhealthy fats, refined sugars, and salt can contribute to high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and inflammation, all of which are risk factors for heart disease. On the other hand, a healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats can help to lower cholesterol, reduce blood pressure, and decrease the risk of heart disease.
Specific nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and antioxidants found in foods such as fish, nuts, fruits, and vegetables have been shown to have a positive impact on heart health. Additionally, maintaining a healthy weight through proper nutrition can also reduce the risk of developing heart disease.
What is Patio Gardening?
Patio gardening is a method of growing plants, vegetables, and flowers in a limited outdoor space, such as a patio, balcony, or terrace. This type of gardening allows individuals who live in urban areas or have limited outdoor space to still enjoy the benefits of growing their own plants and produce.
One of the primary advantages of patio gardening is its accessibility. This form of gardening can be enjoyed by individuals of all ages and physical abilities. Additionally, patio gardening provides the opportunity for individuals to grow fresh produce and herbs, creating a sense of self-sufficiency and a connection to the natural world.
The benefits of gardening for cardiovascular health.
One of the keys to achieving heart health is to break up your periods of sitting with light activities — no matter what your age is. Cardiologist Professor Joep Perk said, “We know that sedentary behavior is now considered an independent risk factor for ill health.”
Patio gardening offers numerous health benefits, particularly for heart health. There are several reasons why patio gardening is good for heart health.
Gardening can be a stress-relieving activity, and chronic stress is known to contribute to heart disease. Spending time in a garden and connecting with nature has been shown to have a calming effect on individuals and can help reduce stress levels, which in turn can benefit heart health.
Gardening often involves exposure to sunlight, which is a natural source of vitamin D. Vitamin D is essential for heart health, as it helps regulate blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease.
Growing and consuming fresh fruits and vegetables from a patio garden can contribute to a heart-healthy diet, as these foods are rich in essential nutrients and antioxidants that support cardiovascular health.
Engaging in patio gardening can have several physical benefits for heart health, including:
- Exercise: Gardening involves physical activity such as digging, planting, watering, and weeding, which can help improve cardiovascular health by providing a good workout for the heart and the rest of the body.
- Stress reduction: Spending time in a garden can help reduce stress and anxiety, which can have a positive impact on heart health. Lower stress levels can in turn lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease.
- Sunlight exposure: Spending time outdoors in the sunlight can help the body produce vitamin D, which is important for heart health. Vitamin D has been shown to have protective effects on the cardiovascular system.
- Fresh air: Working in a garden allows for exposure to fresh, clean air, which can improve overall respiratory health and benefit the heart.
- Dietary benefits: Growing your own fruits and vegetables in a patio garden can encourage a healthier diet, which can contribute to better heart health. Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease.
In a Good Housekeeping article, Scientists Say Gardening Could Be the secret to a Healthy Heart, they dive into the research that shows how beneficial gardening can be to a cardiovascular health.
“The study, published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, looked at data collected from over 146,000 American adults over the age of 65. The participants were broken down into three groups — gardeners (older adults who garden), exercisers (ones who engage in other physical activities besides gardening), and non-exercisers (sedentary individuals). Gardeners reported spending more time staying physically active compared to exercisers, and they were able to meet the recommended 150 minutes of aerobic activity per week with just gardening alone.
Compared to sedentary individuals, gardeners reported significantly lower odds of cardiovascular disease, stroke, heart attack, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and even diabetes. They were also more likely to meet their fruit and veggie quota for the day (truly reaping the fruit’s of their labor!).”
This February we invite you to give Patio Gardening a try. You don’t need a lot of room or time and the benefits are impressive.