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Today we will cover the 10 benefits of gardening for a healthier lifestyle, and they cover a wide range of benefits from physical activity to providing your own food. Gardening is one of the best ways to get outside, get some fresh air and get in touch with nature and yourself!
Regular gardening has a positive impact for people of all ages, from kids right on through to older adults. From developing fine motor skills for the young, to helping provide light exercise for the elderly, it is an activity that everyone can be involved in.
A sense of pride can also be experienced from your own garden. From producing your own nutritious foods or from creating your own home grown flower bouquet, or maybe it is from just having a really nicely manicured lawn and neatly trimmed hedges.
The best time to start gardening is now. Even if you are in a tiny apartment, you can begin with houseplants or a small container garden on your balcony, so don't let that stop you!
Gardening is one of the healthiest hobbies that can create better moods, good exercise and offer amazing health benefits!
Gardening offers many great benefits
1. Gardening for food production
Record numbers of people during the coronavirus were inspired to create victory gardens over growing concerns of food shortages. Vegetable gardens were the solution to providing your own food in your own backyard instead of depending on the grocery store.
See my article Food Security via Vegetable Gardening for more information on growing food in times of difficulty.
Growing your own food can create peace of mind that you can feed your family in times of world crisis like we recently experienced, but also for other reasons such as job loss or illness. It is a great way to save money when food prices remain high.
Not only can you grow your own vegetables, but don't forget to plant a few fruit trees and berries as well, or a complete food forest for that matter. When choosing what to grow, choose your families favorite foods that you buy a lot of at the store.
See my article Food Gardening for Beginners if you need more tips on growing your own food.
2. Gardening creates a healthy lifestyle
Healthy eating from your own home grown organic produce including fruits and berries, creates a peace of mind knowing where your food comes from and how it was grown. Healthy food and more movement from working in the garden help to create a healthier version of you.
Interaction with bacteria in soil can also improve your immune system. This has been known to create less stress and help with depression and anxiety.
Gardening creates more movement in your life which is always a good thing and can help you lose weight. Gardening also inspires creativity and mindfulness whether your are working on planning out your garden, or physically working in it.
3. Gardening helps with disease prevention
Gardening has many benefits that help with disease prevention, including lowering stress levels, increasing vitamin D levels, adding physical exercise to your life and boosting your immune system.
Lowered stress levels and moving your body, are all good in helping reduce heart disease and/or cardiovascular disease, thereby helping prevent a heart attack. Exposure to sunlight is known to also help lower blood pressure as does less stress.
Vitamin D deficiency aids in the loss of bone density, and a higher chance of osteoporosis. Both of these create weaker bones and a higher chance for a bone fracture. So working outside in your garden helps increase your levels of Vitamin D.
A stronger immune system can help with autoimmune diseases and keep you from catching the common cold or virus going around. As you can see, there are many great reasons to take up gardening as it really does help with general human health and disease control.
4. Physical exercise from Gardening
Gardening entails a lot of hard work using every major muscle group. On different days, you could be weeding, mulching, digging, raking, moving bags of mulch and the list goes on!
Pruning tomatoes or pruning your apple trees or your basil plants, to cutting grass or weed wacking, there is always something physical to do in the garden. This creates great exercise which creates better physical health with stronger muscles, less stiffness, better sleep and weight loss.
See my article Favorite Tools for Vegetable Gardening to be sure you are using the right tool for the right job to make your work load a little bit easier!
5. Mental health gains from gardening
Numerous studies have shown that direct contact with the earth helps to lower the stress hormone known as cortisol. Less stress helps people with depression and anxiety.
The peace that working in the garden brings, and the creative outlet if offers, can also help with stress relief. Having purpose and responsibility to care for other living things such as plants, could also help with depression.
6. Gardening helps with early childhood development
Gardening offers so many benefits to children, from sensory exploration to problem-solving skills and more. It exposes children to new ideas and teaches responsibility.
Spending time with the kids in the garden is also a great family activity that creates family bonding time and gets the kids outside and away from the video games and screen time.
It takes focused attention and teaches new skills, like patience as some plants have a long waiting time over a matter of weeks, to bear fruit or to flower.
Gardening gets their bodies moving and is a great way to add some STEM learning by teaching about habitat, biology, keeping records, planning and designing. Have them look into getting involved in their own school gardens too!
Children are also prone to try more fruits and vegetables if they have grown them themselves, which is always a good thing! They are proud of growing their own fruits and vegetables and are more familiar with them now that they know where they come from.
See my article Vegetable Gardening with Kids for more ideas on how to get kids involved in the garden.
7. Gardening benefits the elderly
The physical aspects of gardening are great for our seniors as it helps relieve joint pain and stiffness and can help keep their muscles strong which can prevent falls. This extra exercise can also help them from developing the risk of osteoporosis.
Horticultural therapy is also an effective treatment to help folks who are suffering from dementia or at risk of dementia, as it helps improve mental health and cognitive function.
Even light gardening can help reduce their stress levels which helps any who might have high blood pressure or anxiety or depression.
8. Gardening is great for social interaction
Gardening is one of the outdoor activities available that allows for human interaction in people sharing their experience and knowledge with each other. Whether you are working in a community garden or a school garden or just sharing your bounty with neighbors or friends and family.
Younger people learning from older more experienced gardeners is always a joy for both involved. I loved going on "garden tours" with my mother-in-law through her garden after we first got married, I learned so much from her during these tours.
Finding a garden mentor or joining a gardening club is also a great way to interact with others who share your interests. Sharing online such as on Instagram or on a local Facebook gardening group is also a great way to learn form others, or to share your knowledge with those who are just starting out.
9. Gardening can help with climate change
Eco-anxiety is a real thing, it is the fear over climate change and not being able to do anything about it. Well with gardening, you can in fact do something to help our planet.
Growing new and different plants helps reduce the carbon footprint and this can help reduce your environmental anxiety. By eating your own home grown food, a lot less fossil fuels are used transporting store bought produce all over the world.
You can plant more trees and create wildlife habitat in your garden which are both great for the environment. Consider volunteering for your local land conservation groups to help plant trees or remove noxious weeds in your area.
Reduce your water usage by collecting rain water and by using drip irrigation to water your green space. All of these efforts reduces guilt and makes you feel more powerful in helping reduce your fears over climate change.
10. Garden produces pride
Long days working in your garden plot has positive effects, such as being proud of the food you serve from your garden. A beautiful garden gives you the feeling of empowerment to be able to feed your family from the efforts put forth by your own two hands.
A garden also provides a beautiful outdoor space that allows for peace and creativity. It shows pride in the ownership of your home and a rightful sense of accomplishment.
10 Benefits of Gardening
To summarize, the following is the complete list of 10 benefits of gardening:
- Provides food security
- Creates a healthy creative lifestyle
- Helps with disease prevention
- Provides physical exercise
- Improves mental health
- Helps with early childhood development
- Helps the elderly physically and mentally
- Provides social interaction
- Helps with climate change
- Provides a sense of pride and accomplishment
Final thoughts on the benefits of gardening
As you can see, gardening is a great idea for everyone to be involved in. Whether it is a small rose or flower garden, your whole yard or a few small garden beds, or just a small vegetable garden or container plantings, all are worthwhile efforts that do good for you in many ways.
With our public health deteriorating in many ways here in the United States, a garden is a great place for you to not only spend time, but for everyone! If gardening is a passion of yours, you can also reach out into the community to share it with others and help improve the quality of life for many.
Places to consider volunteering your gardening expertise are school gardens, community gardens (especially in urban areas!), senior centers, retirement home communities, 4-H programs, or as an FFA volunteer for your local high school.
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