“Mary, Mary, quite contrary… How does your garden grow?”
The answer to that age-old question is: with a lot of hard work. If you’ve been considering taking up gardening, we’re here to tell you that there’s never been a better time to start!
The hobby of gardening has a lot of amazing health benefits, some of which may surprise you! Read on to learn the health benefits of gardening!
1. Gardening Can Help You Lose Weight
Yard work such as gardening is a great activity to do if you want to take care of your body. An hour of gardening can actually burn up to 330 calories according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
In another study by the American Journal of Public Health, they discovered that those who garden are likely to have lower BMI ranges. They found that men lost an average of 16 pounds and women lost an average of 11 pounds!
Since it is more of an activity than a pure workout, you may not even notice that you are breaking a sweat. You’ll burn calories with a smile as you pull weeds, dig with your trowel, or rake with a rake from Weed Razers.
2. Gardening Can Reduces Stress and Loneliness
According to NASA, yes that NASA, gardening can provide stress relief. Astronauts grew zinnias, zucchini, broccoli, and sunflowers as a part of an experiment to test the effects of caring for plants on their moods.
They hoped to combat the feelings of stress, loneliness, and isolation that many astronauts can experience in space and the outcome of the study was positive.
Another study had people complete a stressful task and then tested the effects of gardening on their cortisol levels. Cortisol is the hormone our brains produce when we are stressed.
Half of the participants gardened for 30 minutes after completing their task, while the other half spent time reading a book indoors. The half that spent time working in the garden ended up with measurably lower levels of cortisol.
Another way working in the garden can combat stress and loneliness is with community gardening. Community gardens are shared spaces where members of a community can grow vegetables and other plants together as a collaborative project.
Community gardens are a great environment for socialization and building relationships with other people. Direct face-to-face interaction with other humans can relieve stress and anxiety. It can also make our brains release dopamine which makes us feel good and is a natural pain reliever.
3. Gardening Can Help You Think Clearly
Gardening can help you think more clearly! According to a study by the University of Michigan, being outside and around plants made people more focused. They saw an improvement in both attention span and memory of 20%!
Another study found that working in the garden also lowers your risk for dementia. The study followed over 2700 people age 60 and over for 16 years. They concluded that physical activity including gardening could reduce dementia risk by 36%!
4. Gardening Can Help You Eat Better
One huge benefit of gardening is growing your own fruits and vegetables. 90% of adults do not get enough fruit in their diet. Fruit and vegetables are a great source of vital nutrients your body needs. Most are low in fat and high in vitamins.
Potassium from vegetables helps maintain proper blood pressure. Dietary fiber found in vegetables helps lower cholesterol and can help lower the risk of heart disease.
Folic acid aids your body in producing red blood cells. Vitamin A is good for your eyes, and Vitamin C helps cuts heal and helps you keep your gums healthy. It also helps you absorb Iron.
5. Gardening Increases Hand Strength and Coordination
You use your hands for a lot of intricate work while gardening. From pruning branches to pulling weeds, these activities can strengthen your hands.
Working in the garden is a great way to work on your fine motor skills. A study from HortScience found that weeding for a few minutes a day could offset some of the hand strain from repetitive actions like typing.
6. Gardening Gives Your Immune System a Boost
Digging in the dirt is actually good for you on a biological level! Mycobacterium vaccae is a good bacteria found in the soil. It helps alleviate the symptoms of asthma, psoriasis, and allergies. One study also showed it had a positive impact on mental health by fighting depression.
7. Gardening Exposes You to Vitamin D
Spending time outdoors in the sun helps you get the recommended amount of Vitamin D. Vitamin D is not available in many foods, but it is in sunlight! By spending time outside, you are able to absorb Vitamin D, which has many health benefits.
Vitamin D boosts your calcium levels. Calcium is essential to both bone health and a strong immune system. Vitamin D also helps fight depression and anxiety, so gardening outside can literally make you happier!
The Benefits of Gardening Are All Around You
When you take up gardening, you will be able to watch as the literal and figurative fruits of your labor spring up all around you! You will also enjoy a healthier lifestyle as one of the benefits of gardening.
Working in the garden is a past time that you can enjoy well into old age. It will help keep you active and provide some great beauty in your yard and delicious food on your table. So take up gardening today!
If you liked this article, check out some of our other wellness-related articles!