5 Health Benefits of Gardening

5 Health Benefits of Gardening

Can you believe it is June already? Most likely, if you are a gardener, your garden is in full bloom. If you don’t garden now, it may be time to start because of some proven the health benefits. Here are a few:

  1. Lower Stroke Risk and Improve Heart Health -Gardening helps you achieve your exercise targets for the week and the motivation of having a beautiful garden is more rewarding than spending time on the treadmill or stationary bike. A Stockholm study showed that regular gardening can cut stroke and heart attack risk as much as 30% for gardeners over 60. Spend 10-15 minutes with your arms or legs in the sun without sunscreen so you get a good dose of Vitamin D. Adequate amounts of Vitamin D have been shown to reduce risk of some cancers, osteoporosis, and heart disease. Increased flexibility and mobility, especially for seniors is very beneficial.

  2. Improve Brain Health-There is a long-term study of 3,000 participants that showed daily gardening reduced the incidence of dementia by 36%, other studies showed even higher numbers. Clear causes of dementia and Alzheimer’s have not been determined. Though gardening involves several activities that have been shown to help lower the incidence of dementia such as more problem solving tasks, learning new things, practicing mindfulness, and increasing endurance, dexterity and strength.

  3. Help Immune regulation-The Vitamin D you get from being outside helps fight off flu and colds. And a surprising fact is that dirt under your fingernails might be helping, also. A bacterium in the soil, Mycobacterium Vaccae, present in garden dirt has been found to reduce symptoms of allergies, psoriasis, and asthma: all things that can show up when you have an immune system that is not working properly. This “friendly soil” has also been shown to reduce symptoms of depression.

  4. Stress reduction-A study done in the Netherlands had two groups complete a stressful task. Then, one group gardened for 30 minutes and the other read indoors. The gardening group had lower cortisol levels and reported a better mood. Higher cortisol levels have shown to strengthen your immune system, lower obesity rates, and lower risk of heard disease. Cortisol also contributes to helping memory and learning.

  5. Improve Depression symptoms and Mental health-Horticultural therapy has had proven results for patients with depression and mental illness. The benefits of the physical activity, mindfulness, cognitive stimulation and a feeling of accomplishment, all contribute to increased sense of well-being. Balancing a garden with food producing, scented, and flowering plants so they stimulate different senses. Sweating a little by elevating your body temperature can add to feeling of well being, similar to saunas or hot baths. Drink plenty of liquids while you are gardening.

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