Gardening: Does it actually make you healthier_

The summer clock is already ticking. At this rate, you are most likely thinking of every way you can get outside while you can. Did you know some outdoor activities are more beneficial for your health than others? Studies show that gardening has many benefits you should be taking advantage of to live a healthy lifestyle.

So what are the ways that it can improve your health? Evidence points to 6 benefits of gardening that may not cross your mind when you start pulling weeds.

Health Benefits of Gardening (1)

Reduce Stress

Breakthrough research shows gardening reduces stress better than other calming activities. A study out of Wageningen University showed that gardening reduces cortisol better than reading. Basically, getting out there and getting your hands dirty will make you happier!

Immune System Boost

There is evidence that links the exposure to bacteria in soil and stronger immunity against disease and viruses. This is particularly true for young children, so the benefits are for any age. This may not be the case for the elderly or those with already compromised immune systems. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy gardening!

Exercise

30 minutes of pulling weeds is moderate intensity exercise that everyone can enjoy. If you did so daily, you would be getting 2.5 hours of exercise a week! Studies show those that garden regularly are more likely to exercise for longer periods.This results in higher long term health benefits. Further, it uses muscles from upper and lower body, so you get the benefit of a full body workout.

Mental Stimulation

Gardening isn’t easy. It requires a lot of mental focus and problem solving. Because of that mental activity, your risk of dementia can decrease by 36%. Digging in the dirt can also decrease your risk of depression. It’s related to lower cortisol levels, but gardening also increases serotonin (happiness chemicals).

Reduce Illness

Because of increased exposure to bacteria in the soil, the risk of many diseases declines. Besides reducing risk of dementia and depression, this fun in the sun activity can also lower your risk of heart disease and some cancers. So keep digging deeper for all the possible health benefits.

Healthier Diet

Not only are you decreasing your risk for disease, exercising, and feeling less stressed, you’re growing food! The benefit of gardening is seeing actual results of your efforts. When you have organically grown fruits and vegetables you watched from seedling to table, you are more likely to enjoy those foods in your diet. This steers you toward eating vegetable focused meals. Plus, it’ll save you money at the grocery store!

Gardening is a great activity for people from all walks of life. From a healthier diet to stress management, it has a world of health benefits you may not have considered before as a reason to take up the hobby. So get out into the sun and get your hands dirty to rake in the benefits.

As always, share with us all the benefits you experience from growing your very own garden!