In an age when many children and adults spend as little time as possible outside, gardeners are the exception to this new way of life. As gardeners, we know that being outside and working in the garden has amazing benefits beyond the dirt under your finger nails, growing blossoming plants from tiny seeds and having fresh air in your lungs.
So what other benefits does gardening have for our health? Many. Warning: reading the health benefits of gardening may make you love gardening even MORE.
Gardening, like all exercise can reduce your risk of stroke, as reported in “Stroke: Journal of The American Heart Association”.
Gardening, like all exercise, burns calories. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, gardening is considered moderate to high intensity exercise and can burn 330 calories per hour. That’s more calorie burn than weight lifting. Just think about how all those squats are working your leg and glute muscles.
Gardening can reduce the risk of heart disease and other common illnesses. Just 30 minutes of moderate-level physical activity a few times a week can prevent and control high blood pressure. In fact, gardening scored a place on the The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute‘s recommendation list for battling high blood pressure.
Gardening reduces the chances of osteoporosis. With all of the reaching, squatting and stretching required to keep your garden in top shape, you are actually helping your body too.
Gardening reduces stress (as we are sure you already know). Sometimes there is no better way to de-stress than by getting out the shovel and accomplishing something in the garden.
Being surrounded by flowers improves one’s health. In behavioral research conducted at Rutgers University by Jeanette M. Haviland-Jones, Ph.D., the results showed that flowers are a natural and healthful moderator of moods and have an immediate impact on happiness, a long term positive effects on mood, and make for more intimate connections between individuals
Digging in the soil actually has mood lifting benefits. Christopher Lowry, Ph.D., an assistant professor of integrative physiology at the University of Colorado at Boulder, has been injecting mice with Mycobacterium vaccae, a harmless bacteria commonly found in soil, and has found that they increase the release and metabolism of serotonin in parts of the brain that control cognitive function and mood — much like serotonin-boosting antidepressant drugs do.
Gardening strengthens your immune system. Humans were meant to spend time outside, enjoying the sunlight, getting exercise and working. Being outside, whether in your garden or on a hike, gives your body the chance to soak up some vitamin D, which which helps the body absorb calcium. In turn, calcium helps keep your bones strong and your immune system healthy.
For more reasons on how gardening is good for your health, read the article where many of these ideas came from: http://www.gardeninggonewild.com/?p=27941