If you think about how a garden benefits your health, the obvious answer is that it produces fresh, healthy food for you and your family.
When you plant a garden, you control what you grow and how you grow it, so you don’t have to worry about GMOs or pesticides or other concerns about food that have been in the news lately. But, gardens benefit your health in other ways, too. We take a look at four of those ways below, to inspire you to get outside and start growing plants soon.
Gardening is a Good Form of Exercise
When considering workouts, gardening probably isn’t one activity that springs to mind first, but gardening is a beneficial form of exercise. Gardeners haul soil and plants, bend and stretch to tend to their plants and pull weeds, and pull heavy hoses across their property or haul water at least twice a day. Thanks to all of the physical activity growing plants requires, you will lower your blood pressure, lower your cholesterol, and reduce muscle tension and stress by gardening.
Gardening Soothes the Mind
Many people do not realize the positive impact gardening has on the mind until they become gardeners themselves. According to the research, gardening results in greater life satisfaction, improved self-esteem, and reduced depression and fatigue. Gardeners also report improved moods and lower levels of stress after spending time among their plants. Interestingly, researchers have found that gardening is more effective at reducing stress than reading or exercising indoors.
People who garden experience a sense of calm from being in nature. The effects of gardening are similar to those of meditating because the tasks of digging, planting, weeding, and pruning are repetitive enough that they don’t require a great deal of attention; people can clear their mind while being active in the garden. Gardeners focus on the tasks at hand while stimulating their senses, which helps them relax.
Some researchers also point to the soil as a source of relaxation for gardeners. A type of bacteria called Mycobacterium vaccae exists nearly everywhere outdoors, and researchers believe it stimulates the body to create norepinephrine and serotonin much like antidepressants do. Thus, gardening is an ideal activity for soothing the mind and relieving symptoms of depression.
Sharing Gardening Tips Stimulates the Mind
For people who garden in a community garden, or who share their love of gardening with neighbors, the mental health benefits of gardening become even more significant. By explaining your garden and growing methods and techniques, you can help your neighbors understand why your yard may look a little unusual and boost your brain health at the same time.
Additionally, connecting with others increases your well-being and decreases your symptoms of depression. Studies also show that socializing improves memory and strengthens cognitive skills, which helps lower the risk of dementia. You also improve your mood when you socialize. So, share your gardening tips and knowledge to boost mental health.
Gardening Improves Overall Well-Being
Horticulture therapy is a newer field that is showing positive impacts on patients who suffer from depression and mental illness. That’s why more hospitals and care centers are installing gardens. By combining physical activity, time in nature, mental stimulation, and the satisfaction gained from work, people reap physical and mental benefits when they garden. Seniors specifically benefit from gardening by improving muscle strength and dexterity and by improving their cognitive skills to reduce the risk of dementia.
The health benefits of gardening are numerous. In fact, gardening is a good form of exercise that impacts physical health, soothes the mind to improve mental health, stimulates the mind and strengthens cognitive skills, and improves your overall well-being.
Image via Pixabay by okimini