The Secret Health Benefits of Gardening and Planting

woman gardening

If you’ve ever planted and cared for trees, you’ll know that they give you a wonderful feeling when you see them grow. There’s something special about planting a seed and watching it turn into a plant, which becomes full of life and provides fruit for your table.

Of course, not all gardening is done to produce food. Many people enjoy planting flowers or decorative plants and trees that can turn their garden into a relaxing escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Research has shown that there are several physical and mental health benefits associated with gardening, including:

Improved cardiovascular fitness

Puttering about in the garden or yard can improve overall cardiovascular fitness by increasing your heart rate, burning calories, and strengthening your breathing.

One study found that people who spent more time gardening were less likely to be diagnosed with high blood pressure, while another study linked time spent in a garden to a lower body mass index (BMI).

The sunshine, fresh air, and vitamin D you’re exposed to as a result of going outside and gardening can also improve overall physical health by reducing your risk for certain diseases.

Improved mood

One study found that residents of low-income housing who were taught how to garden experienced better emotional well-being, fewer feelings of depression, fewer feelings of tension or anger, and better self-esteem.

Lower risk of certain diseases

Gardening is perfect for your health, especially when you include vegetables and fruits in your garden. Eating more plant-based foods is associated with a lower risk of obesity and chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.

Stronger muscles in the upper body

Lifting pots and sacks of garden soil can improve strength in your arms, back, and shoulders. Gardening can also help you avoid arthritis issues by strengthening muscles around your joints, improving overall flexibility, and reducing pain.

If you’re wondering how much exercise gardening provides per minute compared with other types of activities, it is similar to moderate-intensity exercises such as cycling or fast walking. However, gardening will still provide a good workout because it keeps your body active for a longer period.

Of course, just because you feel strong doesn’t mean that you’ll do the heavy lifting, Some tasks such as tree removal are best left to skilled professionals. Whether you’re removing the tree to make room for something else or moving it somewhere with more space,  there are some tricks to making the job easier.

Lower risk of depression and stress

Some activities in a garden produce chemicals that can boost your mood. In one study, people who grew certain flowers in their homes experienced less stress and depression than those who did not have any plants around their houses.

Other research has shown that being involved in community gardening projects can improve overall mental health by reducing symptoms of depression and feelings of isolation.

people gardening

Gardening is not only beneficial to your physical health, but its benefits can extend to the people around you. For example, planting trees or flowers helps improve air quality in your neighborhood and reduces soil erosion around your home.

Helping others

Another way to enjoy the mental well-being that comes with gardening is by volunteering. Many community gardens and charities run volunteer gardening promotions and programs for people who want to get involved in the community while doing something positive for themselves, such as veterans trying to reintegrate with society after their time served.

Socialization

Gardening can also help you meet new friends and form a stronger sense of connection with your neighbors. For instance,  the community garden that you volunteer at may hold special events or parties where you can meet other people who share the same interest as you.

Better quality sleep

Gardening can help you sleep better by reducing your stress levels. Exposure to sunlight, fresh air, and lower temperatures all play a role in improving the quality of your rest. Studies have found that people who gardened for at least four hours per week got more sleep than those who didn’t garden at all.

And if you’re wondering if gardening is an effective treatment for insomnia, one study showed that it could be just as beneficial to your sleep quality as medication.

Aerobic capacity

Gardening can also help you improve your aerobic capacity by increasing the amount of oxygen in your blood. This makes every movement easier because more oxygen helps fuel muscles so that they can contract more efficiently.

The benefits of gardening and planting go beyond just growing your own food. Whether it be getting fresh air, relieving stress, meeting new friends, or simply doing something positive for yourself and your community, you can reap all these health benefits and more by planting a garden in your backyard or volunteering at a community garden near you.

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