Garden Your Heart (Problems) Away

Did you know that after a heart attack, stroke, or other heart complication, getting your hands dirty in a garden can relieve stress, helping your mind, body, and heart heal?

It isn’t necessary to wait until you suffer from a heart aliment to begin your garden adventure. Gardening can be a family affair or you may use it as your quality “you” time. Whichever you choose, many cardiologists throughout the world recognize gardening as healthy alternative for heart exercises, peace and overall well-being balance.

Magdi Ghali, M.D., cardiologist at Iowa Heart Center in Des Moines says the following;
“I think gardening creates a sense of harmony,” Ghali says. “In gardening, several things happen: anticipation, the nurturing of life, and watching life bloom. You can take care of a garden, but you can’t make it grow. It’s like taking care of our bodies. There are mental rewards and relaxation.”

When gardening you are mixing it up by both stretching and using cardio through many small, short bursts of movements. This is fitness interval training at its finest. Also, just 30 minutes a day in the sunshine provides 4 times the daily dose needed of Vitamin D. This additional benefit is a great one for keeping your spirits full of joy but not the only benefit.

By gardening, you are also reducing your monthly costs by saving money on vegetables grown in your own backyard! Keep it organic and grow lots of heart healthy veggies that you can use daily in salads and juices without wasting gas to hit the Super and save the stress of traffic. If you don’t have a yard or even a balcony, don’t fret, there are many kitchen window options for you apartment dwellers. To name just a few – tomatoes, basil, cilantro, thyme and kale. Still intimidated? Lucky for us and our hearts urban gardens are popping up in neighborhoods near you that can provide a coop of sorts where not only do you get your gardening heart health benefits & veggies, but you will also be giving back to families that may not be able to afford those well balanced meals of delicious nutrition filled vegetables. So no matter where you are, in any season, get your hands dirty and your heart healthy!

Follow the quick PWG tips below to make sure you get the most out of your gardening experience.

Drink plenty of water. Hydration is key for any outdoor activity. It’s important to drink plenty of water before and after gardening. Early morning or late afternoon is the best time to garden because temperatures are coolest then.

Always warm up. Digging, watering, and raking are all activities that involve multiple muscles. Before doing any yard work, gardeners should stretch to make sure they don’t damage muscles or ligaments.

Take frequent breaks. When engaged in a truly enjoyable activity, it’s common to lose track of time. Gardeners should watch the clock to ensure that they take frequent breaks to rest and hydrate.

Use sunscreen. Protect skin by wearing a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15. It’s also wise to wear a hat and to cover exposed skin with protective clothing, which helps shield skin from bug bites and scrapes as well.

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