Fresh air, sunshine – what more is there to like about gardening? Well, as it turns out, plenty. From mood to heart, to even bowels, studies find gardening activities can have a significant positive impact on a wide range of health outcomes, both physical and mental.
There are many reasons why plants, in general, are so valuable. So, it’s not surprising that working with them does you oodles of good. Here are just 7 of the amazing benefits of gardening.
7 Benefits of Gardening:
As humans, we are meant to move. Yet, too often, we find ourselves sitting, whether behind a desk or in front of the television. Gardening gets us back to our movement roots. It may not be a formal exercise routine, but gardening has us engaging in the activities our joints crave. Just think about it. Moving, walking, crouching, standing, digging. Gardening has it all. And the best thing – no gym membership is required!
Sense of Accomplishment
Whether you have a balcony planter, vegetable garden, or intricately landscaped backyard, watching a plant under your care grow and flourish gives you a healthy dose of satisfaction and accomplishment. All of which contribute to your overall sense of well-being. And these positive feelings can be especially beneficial to children. Encouraging children to garden not only teaches them responsibility but can also give them a wonderful boost of confidence.
Improved Hand Strength
Gardening has you digging, pulling, and gripping, all movements that involve using your hands. These movements can help retain your hand’s strength, coordination, and dexterity.
Maintaining your hand strength and flexibility becomes even more important as you age. It’s one of the reasons gardening is such a great activity for older adults.
Anyone who has spent a bit of time caring for their garden knows the calming effect of digging in the dirt. Turns out there’s more to this activity than we first realized. Getting our hands into the soil may physically reduce stress and inflammation thanks to the beneficial soil-dwelling bacteria Mycobacterium vaccae. This bacteria contains an anti-inflammatory fat which may be responsible for quelling stress-related disorders. Who knew?
Growing your own vegetables not only offers you a healthier way to eat (assuming you’re not spraying your produce with harmful chemicals) it can also offer a bit of financial health to your wallet. A package of seeds or even a cell pack of seedlings costs far less than purchasing grocery store produce.
If you have space, grow extra veggies and freeze them for use throughout the winter.
In warmer climates with longer or year-round growing seasons, stagger your plantings, matching your vegetables with the time of year.
If you want fresh vegetables year-round but live in a colder climate, consider using grow lights for an indoor garden. There is an initial expense with grow lights, but this can pay off in the long run.
Gardening outdoors means sunshine, and sunshine means vitamin D exposure. Vitamin D is critical for bone strength, as well as a whole host of other body needs.
There’s no hard and fast rule on the amount of time to spend in the sun, as the time of year, the sun’s intensity and even skin color can all affect how much actual sun exposure you are receiving. However, on average aim for 15 minutes per day of sunscreen-free mid-day sun.
Growing your own food can help develop lasting habits of eating more vegetables and fruits. And having your own produce means you have control over it.
You decide whether or not pesticides or chemicals are used, and you decide when your produce is ready for picking.
The produce coming out of your garden will not only taste better and fresher, but it can also be more nutritious. And the benefits aren’t limited to adults. Research has shown children who grow their own food are more likely to eat more fruits and vegetables.
I’ve listed 7 amazing benefits of gardening, but there are many more. Gardening is a fun, healthy activity for both adults and children. And one, once started, can be very addicting!
In the comments below, let me know what benefit you’ve seen from gardening.
And if you found this article on the 7 amazing benefits of gardening helpful, feel free to share it with your friends.