8 Surprising Health Benefits of Gardening
Planting flowers and vegetables can reap bountiful bouquets and delicious harvests for your dining table. But did you know gardening also can do wonders for your well-being? Here are eight surprising health benefits of gardening.
1. Gardening can build self-esteem. After tilling, planting, nurturing and harvesting plants, you might see a slightly different person in the mirror: a person who can grow things and is a little more in tune with the earth. If you can grow a garden, what can’t you do?
2. Gardening is good for your heart. All that digging, planting and weeding burns calories and strengthens your heart. “There are physical benefits from doing the manual labor of gardening,” says UNC Health internal medicine physician Robert Hutchins, MD, MPH. “It’s hard work to garden, and it provides some cardiovascular benefit.”
3. Gardening reduces stress. Gardening can help reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. “Gardening gives you a chance to focus on something and put your mind to work with a goal and a task in mind.”
4. Gardening can make you happy. Getting dirt under your nails while digging in the ground can make you pretty happy. In fact, inhaling M. vaccae, a healthy bacterium that lives in soil, can increase levels of serotonin and reduce anxiety.
5. Gardening can improve your hand strength. All that digging, planting and pulling does more than produce plants. Gardening also will increase your hand strength. What a great way to keep your hands and fingers as strong as possible for as long as possible.
7. Gardening can give you a boost of vitamin D. A healthy dose of vitamin D increases your calcium levels, which benefits your bones and immune system.
8. Growing your own food can help you eat healthier. If you have a vegetable or herb or fruit garden, you’re getting fresh produce that you know hasn’t been treated with pesticides.