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Why I Garden: To Get Enough Fresh Air and Sunshine

Even when the weather outside is gorgeous, most children are stuck indoors in front of the television. Others are playing video games or texting on a cellphone. It isn't because they are grounded from getting in trouble, the newest generation has grown up to be more sedentary than ever before, which means that they rarely get enough fresh air and sunshine. Because of this, more parents are starting to encourage their kids to get involved with outdoor activities, such as gardening. It might seem like just another hobby, but the fresh air and sunshine that kids are exposed to while gardening actually has a lot of important benefits that they need to stay healthy. A few of them include:

Decreased Risk for Getting Sick

Sunlight has been intensely studied by scientists who have hoped to uncover what it is that makes it so unique because no other artificial light source can compare to it. Unlike a household lamp, its rays can sanitize and disinfect. That means, a person who spends enough time outside can be healed faster than they would if they stayed indoors. It boosts the immune system by helping the body produce Vitamin D too, which is important for the absorption of calcium that a person needs for healthy teeth and bones. The fresh air from the outdoors also contributes to better health because it is higher in oxygen than the highly polluted indoor air that most people breathe and bacteria can't survive in the presence of an oxygen rich environment.

Increased Joy and Happiness

The dose of Vitamin D that a person gets from the sun also helps prevent depression. That is why the mental health industry has tried for years to develop an artificial light source that depressed patients can use as part of their treatment. Some have been very close, but there is nothing like the real thing though. All it takes is about 30 minutes of time spent outside in the sun to feel better. The sun is strongest in the middle of the day, so most doctors encourage depressed people to try to get their daily dose of sunshine during this time. If possible, sunscreen should be avoided for this 3o-minute session because it blocks the absorption of Vitamin D. It can be put on immediately afterwards to prevent getting a sunburn though.

Better Physical Fitness

Working in a garden outside burns a lot of calories because of all the walking, bending, and digging that it requires. So it is an easy way to stay in shape without going to a gym, especially if it is done every day. Those who don't believe this fact can try attaching a pedometer to themselves as they work outdoors. The results will be surprising. Gardening also increases flexibility and strengthens the muscles.

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