Why Gardening is Good For Your Health

Gardening Health Benefits - Garden Technique

Working in a garden is extremely rewarding. For many, it is a hobby, for others, a passion, and for still others, perhaps just a way of saving money by growing their own vegetables and fruit. No matter why you garden, you may be surprised, and delighted, to learn that gardening is actually very good for your health! Check out the ways gardening can benefit both your mental and physical health.

Stress Relief

We live in a society where most people are constantly on the move, addicted to technology, and frequently packing in more tasks than there is the time required to complete them, all of which causes irritability, distraction, fatigue and frustration — all components of STRESS. And stress is connected to physical health problems. Recent studies have shown that gardening lowers cortisol levels, a stress hormone, better than many other leisure activities. After some time spent in a garden, most people reported they felt more relaxed and in a generally better mood than they were prior to working in the garden. Gardening requires “involuntary attention,” the opposite of directed attention required when writing emails and making phone calls. Involuntary attention is an effortless form of attention that is used when outside being one with nature. The natural rhythms of the environment, the sunshine and fresh air, the exquisite smells of fresh flowers and grass, and the repetitive tasks involved in gardening is extremely soothing.

Better Mental Health

Gardening has been proven to decrease many symptoms of depression. Half the participants in a study on this reported measurable improvement in their depression symptoms after spending just six hours a week working in a garden. And even three months after the gardening program study ended, their mood continued to be better. Although gardening cannot replace antidepressants prescribed by a doctor for severe depression, it can’t hurt to start digging in the dirt now and then to help boost your serotonin.

Exercise

Although it isn’t the equivalent of jogging or riding the bike at the gym, gardening offers considerably positive benefits to the body. Any kind of movement gets your blood moving — and that’s a good thing! Gardening involves many different kinds of movements while digging, bending, weeding, lifting and other tasks. It may not be a cardiovascular workout, but it certainly can improve strength, flexibility and stamina. Gardening is an especially excellent exercise option for the elderly and disabled.

So get outside and plant! Gardening is an enjoyable activity that is good for you! And when you are engaged in an activity you truly enjoy doing, you are more likely to stick with it in the long run. And then just watch your health improve every day!

Did you know about these gardening health benefits?

Photo Credit:  istockphoto

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