CALM ZONE: Exercise

If you’re feeling unfit and depressed, perhaps now is the time to start gardening.

On Sunday was Garden Day and proud gardeners took the opportunity to show off the fruits of their labour.

Gardening has many benefits - it connects you to nature, it gives you the pride of growing your own plants, flowers and food and, of course, there are amazing health benefits, say experts.

Now in its third year, Garden Day sprouted as an idea from a group of enthusiastic gardeners who wanted to start a movement to unite South Africans by creating a day where everyone can enjoy their gardens together.

GPs in London have already started to prescribe gardening to assist patients with mental health troubles.

According to Professor Nox Makunga, a plant scientist at the Department of Botany and Zoology at Stellenbosch University, the benefits of gardening are numerous.

“Apart from their aesthetic beauty, gardens have many healing properties linked to psycho-spiritual healing,” says Prof. Makunga.

“They may provide us with food and medicine and an interconnectedness to nature and the world around us and also to our very self. A medicinal garden in some households is a first line of primary healthcare.

“When one works the garden, the physical labour provides good exercise that benefits both the cardio and muscular system; and even, works the brain.”

Make use of your garden by having picnics, teaching kids about plants and insects, growing your own food and doing outdoor yoga.

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