If you’re an avid gardener or just have a few vegetables you plant each summer, you’re most likely aware that gardening is a great form of moderate exercise. After all, just 30 minutes of pulling weeds is enough to work your muscles and cause you to sweat. What you might not know is that gardening improves your health in other ways, too! Regular gardening, in fact, is good for the body, mind and spirit. Let’s take a few moments to learn why.
While gardening is by no means a cure-all for stress, anxiety and depression, it can help improve mental health. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, though, when you consider how gardening gives you an opportunity to soak in some vitamin D, connect with nature and breathe in fresh air. Digging in the dirt and tending to plants also helps your focus shift from those overwhelming daily stressors and onto simpler, more rewarding tasks.
Daily gardening lowered the risk of dementia in older adults by 36 percent in a long-term study published in the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health. Why? Dementia is a powerful disorder, but taking care of oneself with regular exercise, a healthy diet and quality sleep minimizes stress, which can help keep older individual’s brains functioning optimally.
When digging your hands into the soil, you’re likely to come into contact with the bacteria mycobacterium vaccae. Before you start bringing hand sanitizer out to the garden, however, it’s important to know that not all bacteria is bad bacteria. Mycobacterium vaccae actually is good for you, because it helps strengthen your immune system to prevent sickness.
There are a lot of positive reasons to get behind gardening. Whether you’re struggling with anxiety, trying to be more active or want to spend more time outdoors, look to gardening to help improve your overall health.