The Top Five Health Benefits Of Gardening

There has always been something therapeutic about watching plants, flowers and trees grow and thrive under your care. Seasoned gardeners develop deep bonds with their plants and swear that gardening improves their mood and makes them calmer and healthier. Numerous studies have now backed this up and research shows that the physical act of gardening lowers blood pressure and contributes to a healthy weight too. Besides, it makes you much happier and reduces stress. So get your hands dirty now. Your yard will look prettier and you’ll be healthier in the long run too. Still unconvinced? Here are five physical, mental and emotional benefits to gardening that will give you the additional boost you need.

Gardening burns calories

It’s true. An hour of light gardening like weeding, planting a flower bed or clearing a patch of yard to plant something burns more calories than walking at a moderate pace for an hour. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention puts the number at 330 calories. A sustained gardening habit can also lower your Body Mass Index significantly and will help keep you at a healthy weight.

It lowers blood pressure

If you rake the dead leaves in your yard daily for about 30 minutes and follow it up digging trenches to plant your seed potatoes, it’s likely that you will lower your blood pressure by a considerable amount. Activities like gardening that are physical but also put us in a good mood are great for keeping your heart and lungs healthy.

Spending time outside is good for your bones 

If you garden in mild sunshine and stay hydrated while you do it, your body’s ability to produce Vitamin D will increase. Vitamin D is essential for the body’s absorption of calcium which contributes to bone health. Always apply sunscreen to get the benefits of Vitamin D but guard against the damaging UV rays of the sun.

Growing your own food can help you eat healthier

If you have a blooming vegetable garden right outside your back door then you’re more likely to eat healthy organic produce that is chemical free. Americans are supposed to include at least 2 cups of vegetables and 2 cups of fruit in their daily diet to keep chronic disease at bay. You are more likely to meet this requirement growing your own food than if you shop for groceries. Just watching seedlings grow can act as motivation to enjoy the literal fruits of your labor. According to the American Society for Horticultural science, caring for a vegetable patch also encourages children to try vegetables they haven’t eaten before.

Gardening relieves stress and eases anxiety

Research on the correlation between gardening and the dip in symptoms of depression and anxiety is very promising and reassuring. But you don’t need a study to know that humans have always sought solace and comfort in the arms of nature. Growing a garden or even watching one grow teaches one to let go of things they can’t control, restores confidence and  encourages relaxation and well-being. Some hospitals use planting as a rehabilitation method for people recovering from a variety of mental and physical conditions. The bottom line is, your garden is as close to traditional therapy as you can get.

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