Having a difficult day, anyone? If you’re anything like us, you probably have a busy schedule, filled with plenty of responsibilities and an equal amount of anxiety. We all know that exercise can keep us in shape, mentally and physically. Did you know that gardening does, too? Gardening is an excellent way to improve your health and well-being. And it’s a lot more visually appealing than being in a gym. Don’t have a yard or space for a garden? Check out a local community garden and get involved. Most cities have several! Now, let’s explore 6 easy ways that gardening can make you feel (and look) great.

Health Benefits of Gardening: #1 Weight Loss

You’ve probably heard that the American Heart Association recommends getting 30 minutes of exercise a day (150 minutes per week). Spending time in the garden can help you meet that goal. Gardening provides one of the greatest physical workouts a person can have! Gardening can be an incredibly effective way to build strength and improve your balance. By simply holding gardening tools like shovels and rakes, you can improve your core strength and even develop stronger arms and legs.

Like other forms of aerobic exercise, gardening can increase your metabolic rate and improve your body’s ability to break down fats. A study from back in 2013 found that gardeners have a lower body mass index and lower chances of being overweight or obese than non-gardeners.

If you’re not a fan of the gym or need a break, gardening is a great way to get some of the same benefits. Even a simple stroll in the garden burns calories, and the more time you spend nurturing your yard, the more calories your body burns. 

Health Benefits of Gardening: #2 Improved Vision

Health Benefits of Gardening

This might sound strange, but it’s true. Some of the earliest research on gardening and vision was published in 1997. The research indicated that gardening activities like digging and planting can improve the vision of both young and older gardeners alike. Gardening is said to improve vision in two ways. First, the aerobic exercise involved in digging, planting, and other gardening activities is said to enhance the health of your retinas. Second, separate studies have shown that people who get more exposure to direct sunlight have higher levels of macular pigment, which helps prevent vision loss as we age.

Health Benefits of Gardening: #3 Relief from Depression and Anxiety

Gardens have traditionally been used as areas to grow plants, but they have also been used as spaces to relax, focus, and connect with nature and other people. Gardening offers several mental health benefits for everyday life. It keeps you in the present: when you’re gardening, you’re concentrating on what is right in front of you, which can help decrease negative thoughts and emotions.

Gardening can have a calming effect because it reconnects you with the natural world. Watering, weeding, pruning, deadheading… they all provide a soothing, cathartic experience. Whether you’re tending to a desk plant or working in a garden, you can make a sanctuary for yourself – space and time set aside when you can connect with the natural world and immerse yourself in a healthy, growing green environment. 

Health Benefits of Gardening: #4 Growing Food that’s Good for You

You’ve been told from an early age to eat your veggies. If you want to get on the fast track to a healthy lifestyle, you should eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables. Why not grow your food in your backyard? You’ll save money, and you’ll enjoy all the advantages of a diet rich in fresh ingredients, including a healthy diet. It doesn’t matter how big or small your first project is. Just grow a few things you know you like to eat. Eden Brothers’ seed company has some of our favorite peppers and spinach. Need some guidance? Here are some quick and dirty tips (see what we did there?):

  • Sunlight: at least 6 hours of full sun per day
  • Soil: incorporate lots of organic matter, like compost, dead leaves, and shredded bark
  • Water: one inch per week
  • Mulch: a 3-inch layer placed around your plants will help retain moisture
  • Pesticides: use natural insecticides if possible so your food will be chemical-free

Health Benefits of Gardening: #5 Vitamin D Exposure

Health Benefits of Gardening

Vitamin D is an essential vitamin that has been linked to improved health in many ways. Sure, you can take a Vitamin D supplement, but gardening is an excellent way to boost your vitamin D levels. Gardening exposes your skin to ultraviolet rays, which are needed to create vitamin D. Research shows that 30 minutes of sunlight can produce up to 50,000 IU of vitamin D in your body! Vitamin D has some truly amazing benefits, like strengthening your teeth and bones, giving your immune system a boost, preventing heart disease and diabetes, and even reducing the risk of cancer and multiple sclerosis. 

Health Benefits of Gardening: #6 Addiction Recovery

Have you heard of horticultural therapy? It has been a thing for centuries. You can even get a degree in it. We’ve already talked about how therapeutic gardening can be, so it’s not surprising that working with plants is an integral part of many addiction recovery programs. Some important goals of addiction treatment are boosting self-esteem, enhancing attention and concentration, and acquiring new coping methods for stress and anxiety.

As we’ve already mentioned, gardening is a great way to diminish anxiety and depression and keep yourself focused on the present. Pruning and trimming hedges can also be valuable outlets for strong emotions, which often arise in recovery. In one particular study, people who go through an addiction rehabilitation program were offered the option of natural recovery, where they could choose art or gardening as their therapy. People who chose gardening completed the program at a higher rate and reported a more satisfying experience than those who chose art. 

Another huge benefit of horticultural therapy is that it helps us make a connection between caring for plants and caring for ourselves as humans.

Summing Up

Gardening is an excellent way to improve your health and well-being. It has many benefits, including physical fitness and a stronger immune system. It’s also a great way to relax, de-stress, and connect with nature. 

It’s important to remember that gardening isn’t just about growing plants – it’s also about growing yourself!

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