Gardening comes with all kinds of health benefits. When you engage in gardening, you develop a symbiosis relationship with the earth. Gardening can be a fun, enjoyable experience for gardeners. A community can garden as a team to exercise and give back to the local community. It ensures that both individuals and groups have access to organic, healthy and fresh vegetables as gardening benefits.
Apart from providing fresh produce for individuals and families, it also ensures that gardeners enjoy plenty of gardening health and mental benefits. Practiced by people of all ages, gardening benefits both the young and the aged in various ways. With increased advancement in technology, more people spend less time outdoors and more indoors.
As a result, the population worldwide is increasingly suffering from health conditions that develop as a result of being inactive. With gardening, you’ve got lots of benefits to enjoy growing your own fruits and vegetables. Good health, according to the World Health Organization, is more than just having positive health symptoms, but mental, physical and social well-being.
Good quality of life, positive emotions, happiness and a sense of community and togetherness, all play a role in having good health. Whether you engage in community or backyard gardening, there are lots of gardening benefits in store for you. Ranging from prevention of chronic diseases and increased nutrients in your diet to reduced stress and better sleep, gardening benefits are vast.
Here are the top 6 gardening health and mental benefits you can enjoy from growing your own fruits and veggies in your home garden:
6 Gardening Health and Mental Benefits for Gardeners
Reducing the Risk of Life-Threatening Diseases
According to a study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, gardening can reduce the risk of developing stroke and heart attack in seniors. As a result, gardening can help the aged live prolonged lives. Engaging in community gardening can also help with weight control benefits.
Gardening can lower the risk of cognitive decline such as Alzheimer’s disease by up to 50% according to a study conducted in 2016. Based on the study findings published on IOS Press, gardening is a form of physical activity that can reduce the risk of developing cognitive conditions.
Growing fresh fruits, vegetables and flowers can improve the volume of your brain, lowering your risk of developing such conditions. Gardening is mentally engaging and allows gardeners to eat healthy. It’s also a great way to pass time while doing something you’re passionate about and love.
Gardening can also lower levels of osteoporosis, diabetes and colon cancer. According to the Centers for Disease Control, gardening is a ‘moderate intensity physical activity’ that can help lower levels of life-threatening diseases in both the aged and the young.
Make sure you engage in at least 150 minutes of gardening as a physical activity that’s moderate in intensity each week to enjoy its health and mental benefits.
An Effective Stress Buster and Mood-Booster
Heavy use of electronic gadgets is a form of digital detox because it tunes you out of your immediate environment. Busy schedules have similar effects. However, gardening teaches you how to live in the moment, slowing your life down. It connects you with life’s rhythm and Mother Nature. The view of a garden has beneficial positive impacts on you psychologically.
Stress can be hard on your body. It can cause headaches, heart attacks, irritability, heart attacks or even worse underlying medical conditions. A study was carried out to compare indoor reading and outdoor gardening with regards to stress relief. Unlike indoor reading, outdoor gardening significantly lowered cortisol levels in blood and improved the mood of the study subjects.
In other studies, garden settings and horticultural therapy can improve attention, reduce stress levels, reduce the need for drugs, and reduce pain and falls in older adults. Gardening can also help:
- Cope with physical challenges
- Recover from surgery
- Reduce physical pain
- Manage chronic conditions
Improving Relationships and Widening Your Community
Gardening can help eliminate loneliness and improve relationships. Many people get fewer to no chance to socialize after retirement. With community gardens, you can engage with others in a fun way while benefiting your neighborhood.
Furthermore, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention categorizes community gardens as ‘collaborative projects’ running in shared open spaces. Therefore, you’re able to join other community members and participate in the maintenance of the garden and its products such as fresh fruits and veggies.
Use the American Community Gardening Association’s locator tool to find a community garden closest to you. According to the association, community gardening fosters community and neighborhood development and encourages self-reliance to improve the quality of life of its residents.
It also beautifies neighborhoods, promotes social interaction, lowers food budgets for families, conserves resources, produces nutrient-rich foods, and creates opportunities for exercise, recreation, education and therapy for locals.
Community gardens encourage people to spend more time outdoors, make new friends and get involved in the community, meet other like-minded gardeners and access useful tips and advice. They’re often located in churches, residences of senior citizens, city parks, health and community centers, school properties, etc.
In addition to growing organic, healthy food locally and enjoying various health gardening benefits of exercise, community gardens can help you socialize and build relationships with other community members. Take part in community events or exchange gardening tips with your neighbors. You won’t just get to interact with many different people in the wider community, but also widen your relationship and community at large.
Just as food benefits your body, an active social life and making friends can help you connect with your physical and mental health. Better interaction in the neighborhood, revitalization and beautification, community cohesion and values, and having a safe place for kids to play are other gardening benefits you can enjoy.
Community gardening also reduces cases of violence and fosters healthier lives in your neighborhood. It makes life fun, enjoyable and livable.
An Enjoyable Form of Exercise
Whichever time of the day or week you decide to garden, you’re bound to exercise your body and mind. Whether you’re digging, weeding, watering, sowing, pruning or even harvesting, you’re likely to get a full body workout. Your arms can benefit from carrying or lifting gardening tools or supplies.
On the other hand, your legs can gain from squatting while weeding. Bend your knees when picking something heavy to avoid injuries. As a form of exercise, gardening benefits you in many ways. For instance, it improves the supply of nutrients and oxygen to various parts of your body due to faster blood flow.
It can also reduce the risk of developing cancer, lower high blood pressure, boost muscle strength, maintain bone density and prevent life-threatening conditions such heart disease, among other health benefits of exercise. According to WebMD, DIY projects, gardening and housework, are as good as exercise when it comes to heart health. They reduce the risk of stroke and heart attack.
What makes gardening fun and enjoyable is that you get to engage in an activity you love. With the passion for gardening, you keep doing what you like.
Better Regulation of Your Immunity
Exposure to vitamin D is also another gardening benefit. Gardening outdoors in summer exposes to enough sunshine to give you vitamin D in plenty. With enough heat, you can easily fight flus and colds. What’s more, the dirt collected under your fingernails might work in your favor. Gardening soil contains a ‘friendly’ bacteria known Mycobacterium vaccae.
You can either ingest the bacteria through the fresh veggies you grow in your garden or inhale it into your system. The bacteria can help you eliminate the symptoms of allergies, psoriasis and even asthma. The three conditions can develop due to a weak immune system. Apart from boosting your immunity, the bacteria can also alleviate depression.
Gardening doesn’t just workout your physical body, but also brain, meaning it has physical and mental benefits. Researching the right plants to garden, planning the layout of your garden and learning various techniques of gardening can easily jog your brain. The activities help your overcome challenges and use your creativity to come up with working solutions.
Similarly, kids can also gain from gardening health and mental benefits. Engaging in gardening can help students score high in standardized achievement tests for science. Gardening enables them to learn in engaging and active hands-on environment. Working outdoors is also helpful for kids with deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a condition linked to reduced exposure to sunshine.
With a range of gardening benefits at your disposal, you’ve got no reason to start your indoor or outdoor garden at home. You’ll get to grow the fruits and vegetables of your choice while amassing all kinds of health and mental benefits. There’s also no better way to engage your family and kids than gardening.