Planting the Seeds of Weight Loss
Why gardening is perfect for patients of weight surgery
How would you like to go grocery shopping in your own backyard? Unless you live ridiculously close to the supermarket, your best bet may be a home garden where the produce is fresh, free and grown by your own hands. Succulent and sustainable, there are few more cost-effective ways to get the nutritious fruits and veggies you need for your diet after weight loss surgery than maintaining a thriving and productive garden.
However, the benefits of gardening don’t stop at delicious produce. Many gardening enthusiasts say that getting down and dirty helps them to connect to a more primal state, reclaiming some long-lost connection with the elements that’s rare in the modern world. Discovering your own green thumb can be both relaxing and invigorating; a great way to relieve stress and get a low-impact workout after surgery for weight loss.
The climate in Hollywood, North Miami and Ft. Lauderdale is perfect for year-round gardening, and planting now will get you on track for a great fall harvest. Ready to start digging your way to better health? Get your spade and work gloves out—here’s why gardening is an ideal supplement for any weight loss program.
A Workout You Can Sink Your Teeth Into
In addition to getting you out into the Sunshine State’s fresh air, gardening has tons of repetitive and demanding movements to get your blood pumping. Try a few hours of weeding, digging and planting and you’re just about guaranteed to break a sweat—and feel it in your muscles the next day. Though by no means an Olympic workout, the low-impact activities offered by gardening are perfect for patients of weight loss surgery who may not be able to make more vigorous exercise a part of their fitness routines.
Best of all, gardening is one workout you’re sure to keep coming back to. The workout you get from gardening is purely tangential—it isn’t exercise for exercise’s sake. There’s a greater purpose behind each of your actions: you strain your muscles to pull the weeds that threaten your garden, dig the shovel in to make a home for a new plant, spread fertilizer to nurture actual living things. As you see your plants grow, thrive and bear fruit, you’re sure to stay motivated in the long term and forget that you’re even getting a workout at all.
Cultivating Stress Relief
If you find yourself stressed out by your weight loss journey, you certainly aren’t alone—fighting obesity can be a difficult and daunting prospect. However, in a recent study conducted in the Netherlands, researchers found that gardening was more capable of reducing stress than many of the things people do to relax. In the study, participants completed a stressful task and were split into two groups: one group was instructed to read indoors for 30 minutes, the other to garden for 30 minutes. By the end, the gardeners expressed better mood than the readers and were also found to have lower levels of a hormone called cortisol, which has a direct impact on stress levels.
What’s more, experts cite gardening and other forms of connecting with nature as ways to fight “attention fatigue,” which is caused by overexposure to the many attention-demanding technologies in today’s society. Our capacity for directed attention is quickly depleted by cell phones, computers and more, causing many people to become irritable, stressed out and easily distracted. Experts say that engaging in what they call “involuntary attention,” the effortless attention used to enjoy nature, can help to soothe these issues.
If you don’t live somewhere with a yard equipped for a proper garden, there are still ways you can get these great benefits: urban gardening organizations are everywhere, promoting the importance of sustainable living and the therapeutic elements of making things grow even in a dense, urban environment. Try getting involved Miami’s Urban GreenWorks to do some good for both your body and your community.