Spring and summer is a wonderful time of year for those who have a garden, yard or even patio with flower pots. Anyone with just a little strip of dirt can enjoy the benefits of planting herbs, vegetables and flowers for all those delicious summer salads
If we look at the act of gardening we can find many of Rambam’s principles for a healthy life in this rewarding activity
Rambam always recommended eating plenty of fresh, seasonal vegetables and fruits. By eating foods that have not been processed or altered, our bodies better know how to digest and use the nutrients and this will help us not to over eat.
Rambam was very adamant about the need for exercise and he sums it nicely by saying “Exercise repels the damage done by most of man’s bad habits”. Gardening allows you to do something calming, creative and fun while you work various muscle groups and contributes to physical health, since activities such as digging, planting, weeding, and harvesting are all part of three types of physical activity: endurance, flexibility, and strength. Gardening also gets a person outdoors, exposed to natural air, and refocused on a pleasant activity
Exercise for the body is important but exercise for our soul is even more so as Rambam tells us "One should pay more attention to exercise of the soul than exercise of the body. Exercise should always result in happiness, delight and rejoicing".
Cultivating the earth satisfies the human instinct to nurture and provide care and can be extremely rewarding as any gardener can testify to the pleasure they feel watching a garden they have tended grow and flourish and feel a sense of accomplishment in a job well done. Tending your garden relieves stress, helping reduce feelings of anxiety and providing a break from the general rush of life. Gardening connects you with nature and the rhythm of life and requires you to live in garden time. We all could use a lesson in slowing down. Studies have revealed just viewing a garden or nature has healthy psychological benefits.
Apartment dwellers distressed? Check around your area for a community garden that will give you all the benefits of gardening plus the added result of beautifying your neighborhood. Even planting flowers in some window boxes can add beauty to your home environment.
So whether you have a large garden plot or just a small piece of dirt next to your house, head out this season and start planting for your good health.