There are a number of reasons why people may love to garden. For example, it’s relaxing, it makes your home look nice, and it gives you a chance to get outdoors and enjoy the nice weather. But aside from its recreational benefits, did you know that gardening also offers a ton of health benefits, too? It’s true: Spending time in your garden can result in you feeling better both physically and mentally — here’s how.
1. Gardening can help reduce stress
Studies have shown that gardening can result in decreased cortisol levels. Cortisol is what many refer to as the stress hormone, so when your body experiences a decrease in it, that could translate to a reduction of stress.
2. Gardening can promote good heart health
If you’ve spent time gardening, then you know it can give you a good workout. Between preparing your tools and materials, cleaning up once you’re done, and actually planting, your body will be moving quite a bit, and we all know that regular exercise is important to keep our hearts healthy. Even if you garden for only about 15 minutes a day, what matters is that you are up and moving.
3. Gardening can keep you strong
Gardeners work with their hands and arms a ton, so the act of gardening can help strengthen those muscle groups in particular. In fact, gardening is sometimes used in rehabilitation programs since it can be so useful in regaining strength and movement in certain parts of the body. Since you don’t want to overwork anything, though, it’s important to make sure that your body is always positioned comfortably and that you adjust movements every so often so that you don’t strain yourself.
4. Gardening can help prevent illness
Spending time in the sun gives your body a chance to soak up vitamin D, and we’re sure you’ve heard that vitamin D is important for your immune system. In addition to the sun, the soil you’re working with may also help your immune system: Mycobacterium vaccae, which is considered to be friendly soil bacteria, has shown that it can help alleviate what one might experience with allergies, for example.
5. Gardening can boost self-esteem
Nothing feels quite as good as seeing the seed you planted grow into something beautiful. Watching your garden come to life and seeing your accomplishments right before your very eyes can work wonders when it comes to developing positive feelings toward yourself.
Now, this isn’t to say that you should cancel your gym membership and stop worrying about eating a healthy and balanced diet. But if you are looking for additional ways to keep your mind and body in check, gardening is a great place to start.