What Can Plants Teach Us About Being Healthy? The Importance of Movement.
On a recent lecture trip to Singapore, my love of the neuroscience of nature was boosted while visiting what the locals call “the billion dollar garden”: Garden Bay. One of the world’s top WOW! human-made indoor gardens taught us how plant movement has similar health effects as human movement. As it turns out, plants need to “exercise!”
The story goes that after they had constructed this massive garden, even though some of the world’s greatest garden growers constructed this masterpiece plant showcase, many of the plants and trees didn’t thrive and some actually withered and died. The plants and trees got enough water (but not too much), sunlight, and natural fertilizer, but they still withered. What plant-growth factor was missing? It was a mystery…until the scientists observed that the leaves were unnaturally still.
Without plant movement provided by breezes and wind, the roots couldn’t develop sufficiently to support the underground need for growth. Roots get stronger when the plants get their trunks and stems shifted back and forth just enough to encourage the roots to fully develop. Adding movement was the solution to the mystery. Wind tunnels were added throughout the environment, giving the leaves of all the plants the lovely effect we enjoy seeing when there is a breeze blowing through them. More importantly, the plants and trees began to sway, building strength for the whole plant.
We are no different from our plant counterparts…
We also require air and movement to grow strong and healthy. Inside we are far more likely to remain still, sitting in front of computers, televisions or other electronic devices for long periods of time without standing or moving. We also often mindlessly munch and snack in this state of inactivity. We don’t receive the natural air and movement required to be the strongest, healthiest versions of ourselves.
So this summer, remember these Lessons from the Leaves, encourage your whole family to unplug and get outside.