Dig This!

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A green thumb is not only good for your plants, but it is also good for your heart and mental health.

Intro photo by vecteezy.com

Healthy Eating

Growing your own fruits and vegetables encourages you to eat more of them, resulting in an improved diet. A healthy diet, especially one filled with fresh produce, is good for your heart.


Feeling Satisfied

Studies have shown that some people get a feeling of satisfaction from gardening. Seeing the fruits of your labor, so to speak, can provide a sense of pride, an “I did this!” feeling. 


Good Exercise

Engaging in a low-level activity like gardening reduces your risk of death from heart disease by 12 percent when done one hour a week. Bump it up to more than two hours a week and you’ve reduced your risk by 37 percent.


Reduces Stress

It’s always beneficial to your heart to reduce stress. By spending time in nature, our minds and bodies are calmed, hence our stress is lowered. This also can reduce the risk of depression and anxiety.


Sunshine Vitamin

Getting a dose of vitamin D from Mr. Sunshine can help up your immunine system and boost your overall mood. 


Safety Tips

Protect yourself from the sun.

  • Hats, long sleeves, and sunscreen are on the must-list as you head to the garden. 
  • Stay hydrated. Being in the sun, digging holes, and pulling weeds cause your body to lose fluids. Keep your water bottle handy and sip regularly. 

Don’t Overdo It

Know your limits when it comes to physical activity and heat exposure. 

  • Consider spreading out plantings over several mornings when it’s cooler rather than pulling an all-dayer to help avoid the hotter times of the day. 
  • Splitting up your jobs into smaller steps will also prevent overtaxing your muscles, especially those you may not use all of the time.
  • Take care when lifting and laying. Use proper lifting and bending techniques to avoid injury when lifting items or carrying heavy items such as soil or mulch bags. Squat down, kneel or sit rather than bending over when planting or pulling weeds. Your back will thank you!

PERFECT PROTECTORS

When you’re working outside, whether it be planting, weeding, or pruning, dressing for the job is top of the list. The key is to be comfortable yet protected.


Gloves

It’s important to protect your hands while out in the garden and gloves are a gardener’s necessity. Rough edges and thorns can do damage to your skin. Working with ornamental grasses? Consider wearing gloves that cover your arms to your elbows to prevent cuts. And don’t forget that lurking in the soil are some nasty bacteria and fungi that while plants love it, we humans don’t as much.

When selecting a pair, or two!, keep these things in mind – 

  • Comfort: go for a snuggy fit that allows for good use of your hands. You want them comfortable but not bulky. Look for materials such as spandex or lycra for more dexterity.
  • Material: there are many different glove materials available. Depending on your activity, a light fabric glove might do the trick, working around thorny plants calls for a heavier leather glove. Reinforced fingertips help with the glove’s longevity. Lightweight rubber gloves are a go when working in wet muddy soil. Applying pesticides? Grab a pair of nonabsorbent gloves. 

Hats

Look for a wide-brimmed hat, it’s essential for shielding your face from the sun. Wicker is cool or a lightweight fabric one will do the trick. Consider a sun hat with material that covers the back of your neck for added sun protection.


Arm Protection

Don’t forget about covering your arms. Farmers Sleeves are all the rage. They provide arm protection while making a fashion statement with the variety of material prints available. Wearing a long-sleeved shirt also does the job.


Kneelers

On days when you’ll be doing lots of kneeling, consider a thick pad to kneel on or wear knee pads. Your knees will thank you for saving them from discomfort and strain.

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