Gardening, in itself, can produce some of the healthiest, least processed foods to put in your body. This is the most obvious way gardening can improve your health. However, that’s just scratching the surface of the many benefits of creating and maintaining a garden. Getting your hands dirty and being in touch with beautiful, living plants can promote positivity for the mind, body, and soul. Think about it, you’re bringing things to life by nourishing, watering and putting in the effort to get your plants flourishing. But how can gardening improve our health, too?
Mental and Emotional Health
Maintaining your garden comes with physical labor that can sometimes be a nuisance after a long day at work or school. Many times it is necessary so that your plants don’t die, so we have to put up with it. However, once we get into the groove of things it can be quite soothing. Putting your hands to work to dig up some soil, water your plants, pull up roots and generally maintain your garden is a personal activity that allows you to focus.
Stress and Anxiety
When you have returned home after a busy day, gardening can significantly reduce your stress levels and soothe any mental fatigue. Gardening has been proven to reduce tension after performing a stressful activity, much more so than reading or watching television does. Many people find that engrossing themselves in an activity such as gardening allows them to express their personal creativity in a way they may not get to in their careers or other areas of their personal lives. Or perhaps time in the garden is your time alone, the time when you can think and work through any dilemmas or decisions you may be mulling over. Even still, many people find that gardening might even be a good time to let out some anger! Pulling weeds or hauling mulch is one great workout and an excellent way to release some steam if you have any pent-up aggression or frustration building in your life.
Our gardens are, typically, located outside. To maintain our garden, we usually have to step outside, unless you have an indoor or “urban” garden. Studies have shown there is an increase in sadness and depression when we stay indoors or at home for most of our day, as sunshine is one of our natural sources of necessary Vitamin D. Gardening promotes us going outside and enjoying everything that makes the outdoors a lovely place to be. Just like plants, we too need some sun to keep us energized and healthy.
Stepping outside to manage our garden and water our plants can promote happiness and joy. This is also true when we step outside and see fully grown plants produced by our gardening efforts. Feelings of personal success and accomplishment make us happy and joyful, regardless of whether or not anyone else is there to acknowledge it.
Anytime we step outdoors or perform labor, our health benefits from it. We’re active, moving and putting our body to work. We’re not saying it’s exactly exercise, but it promotes healthy movement and activity.
Physical Activity and Exercise
Anytime we step outdoors or perform labor, our body receives numerous health benefits from it. We’re active, moving and putting our physical selves to work. There is no doubt that sweating in the garden counts as exercise. Putting in the work to lift heavy tubs of soil, pull out deep roots, dig out patches of dirt for planting or carrying a watering pail can burn a ton of calories in hindsight. You’ll be breaking a sweat and feeling as if you’ve just done a full body workout. Even squatting over a gardening patch can promote an increase in heart rate and leg workout. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control, “gardening is comparable to moderate cardiovascular activity, and 30 to 45 minutes of gardening each day can burn 150-300 calories.” We already know that gardening produces wonderful food and foliage for us to enjoy, but isn’t it wonderful to know that it promotes healthy movement and activity, as well?!
Heart Disease and Diabetes
We have mentioned that with gardening comes increased movement and greater physical activity, both of which promote healthy living. Additionally, gardening also reduces stress. This can help prevent heart attack, diabetes, obesity, and a host of other ailments that adversely affect your lifestyle and wellness. Any fruit or vegetables produced from your garden also promote a healthy diet, contributing to less of a negative impact on your heart.
The health benefits of gardening are uncanny, as it promotes both physical and mental health. Putting in the work and dedication to build a garden and bring plants to life allows us to have a healthy lifestyle. Every day, we can look forward to doing an activity we actually enjoy rather than sit around waiting for something to occupy our minds, often leading to depression and stagnation. Instead, get in the garden and get moving, today!