The Many Benefits of Gardening
In a previous blog we talked about how to continue growing your garden with limited space or reduced mobility and briefly touched on some of the benefits of gardening. Well, it turns out there are a lot of benefits to gardening and the research on it was so fascinating that we thought the topic deserved its own blog. Here we look at the numerous paybacks that tending a garden – large or small – can give you.
Physical Benefits of Gardening
The physical benefits of gardening are quite far reaching, in fact a study of 3,300 women aged 50 and older by the University of Arkansas found that those who gardened at least once a week showed higher bone density than those who did other forms of exercise. Even more surprising, only two activities were found to be significant for maintaining healthy bone mass – yard work and weight training.
Beyond this, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, recognizes gardening as a moderate-intensity level of activity, and by engaging in it for just 2.5 hours each week, you can also reduce your risk of:
- High blood pressure
- Type 2 diabetes
- Heart disease
- Stroke, and
- Colon cancer
This is because gardening exercises the entire body with all that lifting, carrying, bending, squatting and reaching.
More than this, the non-profit Gardening Matters says that increasing the green space around your home by 10 percent can translate into a five year age reduction as well as a decrease in health complaints.
Emotional Benefits of Gardening
While simply being in or near a green space or garden can boost our mental health and emotional well-being, the physical act of gardening offers even greater benefits. These include:
- Reduced stress
- Increased self-esteem
- Recovery from mental fatigue
- Improved outlook and life satisfaction
- Restored concentration, and
- Improved productivity
A major reason for this comes from the knowledge that in order to keep your garden alive and thriving you have to get up, water, weed and tend to your plants. This sense of motivation and responsibility leads to accomplishment – you receive beautiful flowers, vegetables, fruits and herbs that you can be proud of.
And although you may think of gardening as a solitary activity, it has in fact been found to increase socialization, which in turn boosts mental well being. Be it at the community garden, garden centers, or with friends and neighbors who come to admire your work or by you going to visit with your fresh-from-the-garden bounty, you are engaging in social interactions and reaping the extra benefits that go along with it.
Other Benefits of Gardening
In addition to improving your overall health and wellness, gardening:
- Saves you money by producing your own food and providing you with plenty of beautiful flowers to cut and decorate the inside of your home.
- Increases consumption of fruits and vegetables. It’s true, research has found that those who garden eat more vegetables than those who do not.
- Increases property values due to the beautification of the home or apartment.
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Written by Christine Tompa