As you know Body Designs West is LA’s Personal Training Studio that offers fitness programs tailored to your goals and abilities. Tracy and I are so committed to help you achieve success, we offer this blog in order to educate, encourage and entertain you on your fitness journey. Today’s installment…Health and Fitness Benefits of Flowers and Plants!
So on this gorgeous Sunday morning, as we continue to SPRING our way through April on our way to May, and as I am sure those in the central and eastern parts of the U.S. hope the old saying is true, “April snow brings May…” soon the entire country will be flourishing with one of God’s most beautiful creations!
Did you know that there are psychological, physical AND health benefits to being around house plants and flowers? One 2009 study concluded that hospital patients with flowers in their room needed less pain medication, had lower blood pressure and were less anxious and tired than patients without them by their side.
You might think, as I did, that the study’s results were from the patients’ psychological reaction of being thought of by the givers of the gift. Well, maybe to some extent. Science says it’s more than that! Since the body breeds infections in environments that lack humidity (often the case in hospital rooms), through the process of transpiration, which is the reintroduction of humidity into the air, these living and breathing organisms have the ability to help lubricate the nasal passages and the back of the throat aiding “sore throats, dry skin, and heavy dry cough,” says Raj Dasgupta, a pulmonary sleep doctor and professor at the Keck School of Medicine at University of Southern California. In fact, it has been noted that a typical house plant can account for about 10% of the natural humidity found in a room. Furthermore, Frederique van der Wal, creator of Frederique’s Choice, a flower company that creates wellness bouquets that focus on health benefits, claims that Silver Dollar Eucalyptus, with its antiseptic properties, can help disinfect a room and its sent can make an occupant more alert.
Other flowers, their color and benefits include:
Strong Blues, similar to the Iris, has a calming effect and can even stimulate thought. Softer shades may increase concentration.
Red, on the other hand, common colors of the Geranium, Poppy and, of course, the Rose might have the opposite effect.
Mix those the stability of Blue and the “energy” of Red together…vioala, Purple (Orchids) which births a calming effect over the mind and nerves and also can trigger creativity and be uplifting.
Yellow, found in pansys and daffodils, may be used to help invigorate people who might be suffering from depression.
The famous “Green Rooms” of Hollywood are green for a reason as studies have shown the color’s presence can also lower stress levels. Whether green is the color of the walls or is decorated with healthy green plants, the result is the same…chill.
Research done at Harvard University showed people with flowers in their environment had increased compassion, felt less negative and had more energy. A Rutgers University study found that having flowers in the home can increase the inhabitants’ happiness, reduce depression and anxiety and actually can increase emotional contact with friends and family. So if you are in the dog house with your with your spouse, flowers REALLY might be all you need to be let in from the cold.
Still not convinced? Researchers at Texas A & M University concluded flowers and plants in the workplace improved problem solving skills and increased creativity levels of the workers.
Believe it or not, their scent contributes to a flower’s or plant’s health benefits as well. While the sense of smell is probably the most unappreciated of the five senses, neurologically, it’s our most powerful. What happens when you smell that favorite food that someone you cared for from your past crosses your nostrils? Aren’t you immediately transported back in time? How about that smell of a specific perfume, shampoo or body wash of a loved one? The memories can be psychologically euphoric and physically therapeutic. Two of the most fragrant plants, and favorites of mine, are the jasmine sambac (night-blooming) and the jasmine grandiflorum (dawn-blooming) [Whenever I smell them, I daydream of the times Tracy and I walked Ribby around our home and gym. It is like she’s walking next to us all over again!]. Studies on these intoxicating plants have seen that the flower elicits an exhilarating effect on the mind, which also revealed a reduction in the need for sleep, and raises the level of mental alertness.
I think it is safe to say, it is indisputable…flowers and plants are an essential part of our health, mood and happiness “diets”. So if you would like to improve those aspects of your life, pick a variety of types, colors and scents (make sure you and your loved ones are not allergic to your choices) and “pollinate” some of your most trafficked rooms with these sometimes thorny, often aromatic and miraculously colorful gifts from God. Your body and your mind and those of the ones around you will thank you!
But remember…there is nothing more depressing than dead flowers or plants with wilted leaves. Treat them well and they will return the favor!
One more thing. If you used to train with us and have been away for awhile, our address is:
10542 W. Pico Blvd., Suite A, Los Angeles, CA 90064. 310-838-9991