Gardening has become increasingly popular over the last few years, as even people in urban areas transform their small yards into their own botanical oasis. While grocery store produce is “fresh”, it certainly doesn’t compare to what we can grow in our own garden.
Gardens do take work to maintain, and also to harvest when the vegetables are ready. However, the benefits far outweigh the work involved. Below, I’ve listed my top 5 Health Benefits of Gardening, and I hope that they’ll encourage you to try your hand at gardening, too.
#1. Improving Mental Health
gardening is a scientifically proven stress reliever. We live in a fast-paced world, where symptoms of stress are commonplace for many. Stress can cause anxiety, sleep issues, stomach problems, headaches, and more.. Gardening has been found to reduce stress more effectively than reading a good book.
In addition to reducing stress levels, gardening can be a powerful tool in the battle against depression. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) states that moderate intensity exercise for an average of 2.5 hours a week – such as you would perform while gardening – can reduce the incidence of depression.
There is also a growing field of “Horticultural Therapy” that is showing positive results for people dealing with other mental illnesses as well.
# 2. Physical Benefits
Regular physical exercise is vital for our health. The CDC recommends a minimum of 2.5 hours of moderate intensity exercise every week. Gardening helps to strengthen bones, muscles and joints; it improves one’s ability to perform daily activities; helps to improve core strength; helps to decrease the incidence of lifestyle diseases, (such as obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, osteoporosis, stroke); and is linked to significant beneficial changes in total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and systolic blood pressure.
#3. Offers Help for People With ADHD
Can you believe something li,e gardening can help those who struggle with ADHD? It’s true. Fresh air has been proven to help those with ADHD and can contribute to higher test scores in students. There is strong evidence to suggest that a green outdoor setting can reduce ADHD symptoms. As well, physical activity can be extremely helpful for those with ADHD. By focusing on a specific, measurable task – such as preparing the soil, planting seeds, etc – those with ADHD learn to strengthen their focusing skills. In addition, tending to a garden daily teaches responsibility, while waiting for flowers to bloom and vegetables to ripen teach delayed gratification.
#4. Brain Health and Reduced Alzheimer’s Risk
Daily gardening has been shown to have tremendous benefits for those at risk for Alzheimer’s. One study showed that daily gardening represented the biggest reduction in incidence, by 36%! A similar study the following year showed an even more impressive 47% reduction in the incidence of Alzheimer’s in people who were involved with daily gardening. No one knows exactly how or why daily gardening has such a tremendous impact on the reduction in the development of Alzheimer’s, but most researchers are convinced it is due in part to the fact that gardening involves so many critical functions, including learning new things, problem-solving, and varied sensory awareness.
#5. Healthy, Delicious Food in Your Own Yard!
Fruit and vegetables you’ve grown in your own garden will be, without a doubt, the best tasting you will ever have. Not only that but since you control the conditions they’re grown in, you can rest assured that you’re eating organic, chemical-free food. People who garden tend to eat more fruits and vegetables – and kids belonging to families who garden are shown to eat much more fruit and vegetables as well. Where we live, our growing season is very short (May-September), but one of the best ways to spend a sunny summer afternoon is in the garden. There we can enjoy the fruits of our labor, knowing that not only are we eating the absolute healthiest food we can find, we’re also contributing in other ways to an overall amazingly healthy life. Have you enjoyed what you’ve read here today? Please leave us a comment and share this post so others can discover the amazing health benefits of gardening!