Gardening has many benefits to offer. There are been several research studies that have all proven what most of us intuitively know. Gardening is good for us.
Here are 9 benefits to gardening:
Its recommended that adults get a minimum of 30 minutes of daily exercise. Gardening is a low impact form of exercise for all ages to enjoy.
The activities required to maintain a garden are the same activities that are recommended to get your daily exercise. Pulling weeds, cultivating, watering, and pruning are all activities the use your muscle groups.
The less time you are sitting down, the more likely you are to be getting aerobic exercise. Mowing the lawn, or strolling through your garden to admire the flowers are examples of aerobic exercise.
2. Reduced Stress
Gardening helps reduce stress in many different ways. The act of being present in the garden, and focusing on the task at hand is practicing mindfulness. Mindfulness is a know form of managing expectations, which can help us manage stress when it comes up.
Connecting with nature is a natural stress relief. A study looking at patient outcomes when exposed to trees, or green spaces also noted a significant impact in stress reduction. The researchers found that when a patient was able to see trees or a garden from their window they healed faster. This was attributed to having reduced stress compared to other patients who did not have access to nature.
Humans are social beings. We thrive on being able to connect with others. Gardening is a great way to connect people together in a shared common goal. Community garden spaces are an excellent example of how people can share gardening space together.
Not only does it result in fresh food for the people who garden, it connects across multiple generations. Gardening is an activity for all ages.
If you don’t have access to a community garden where you live, consider starting your own. It can be as simple as putting some container pots out with salad greens for folks to share. If you live in a high rise, connect with your neighbours to grow on your balconies. Get together once a week to share gardening tips over a meal harvested from your gardens.
Get young people involved early. Kids tend to show a natural interest in nature and gardening. Being able to harness this interest early will connect them to a life of growing.
You might be just learning how to garden. Connecting with more experienced gardeners is a great way to learn from their experiences. Teaching others how to grow is also another valuable way to share your knowledge, and connect with others looking to learn.
4. Healthier Diet
This applies more to those growing fruits and vegetables. Growing your own food brings a big sense of accomplishment.
Once plants start producing food, gardeners are much more likely to eat what they grow. This means that not only are gardeners more likely to eat fruits and vegetables, but they are much more likely to be fresh.
Picking produce straight from the garden also means you know what’s happened to it. You get to control if there are any pesticides being used.
Growing your own food also means that you are more likely to substitute junk food for a fresh snack. Eating what is on hand and available also helps the environment, and cuts down on food waste.
5. Saves Money
Being able to plan out what you grow means that you can also grow things that are more expensive in the grocery stores.
While the cost of gardening can seem more expensive upfront, you are getting higher quality food. You might spend money on seeds, containers, water, and soil upfront, but then have a large payout in fresh produce later. Depending on what you grow, you can pickle, or preserve, or dehydrate precooked meals for the winter months.
This can really help cut down on the cost of produce in the long run. If you grow pickling cucumbers for example, you could pickle a few dozen jars in the summer, and save on the overall cost of buying them throughout the year. The same would be true is you are able to store large quantities of frozen vegetables in your freezer.
Gardening is an act of self sufficiency. Being able to grow your own food means relying less on having to buy it. There is a sense of pride that comes with opening your first jar of pickles instead of buying one from the local store.
6. Connect with Nature
Connecting with nature is a necessity for all humans. Its how we regulate ourselves to our surroundings. We know from studies that connecting with nature reduces stress, and increases overall wellbeing.
Connecting with nature is what makes us human. There is no better way to connect that by tending to plants. You will become tuned to their needs, and grow alongside them.
In addition to regulating stress, gardening provides a source of exercise, builds problem solving skills, and teaches self-control. Gardening is great family activity, and wonderful for kids.
Observing nature can help people feel calm, and reduce anxiety. Its also a way to have time to self-reflect, and collect one’s thoughts.
7. Boost your Immune System
Allergies have been on the rise in the last century. There are all kinds of thoughts on what might be causing this. But one of the main theories is that people don’t play in the dirt as much as they used to.
In a case study looking at rural vs. urban kids, rural kids who play outside, and in the soil are much less likely to have allergies.
Soil has been linked to all kinds of health benefits. One of the largest benefits to gardening is spending time outside, and physically touching soil, and plants with your skin. Your body can build up immunity to all sorts of microbes that are living in the soil, or on plants. This helps your body fight off infections.
The type of immunity you will be able to build from gardening will depend on where you live, and what is living in the soil.
8. Better Overall Health
With reduced stress and anxiety, a healthier diet, and exercise, its no wonder gardening is good for your overall health. Basking in the sun is also the best way to get your daily dose of vitamin D.
With all of these components combined with connecting socially, gardening is a great activity for everyone.
If you are struggling to get started in gardening, reach out and join a gardening club. Or if you are struggling to find space to garden, try finding a communal space to connect with others.
Each stage of life benefits from nature, the outdoors, and gardening. No matter where you are in life, its worth connecting to nature for your overall health.
9. Increased Life Satisfaction
It shouldn’t be surprising by now that with all these other benefits to gardening that people who garden are happier in life.
Grow your own food, and share a meal with friends and neighbours. Settle into a chair to listen to the hum of garden creatures about their day’s activity. Water, weed, and care for your plants for your daily exercise. And most of all, enjoy the sense of accomplishment and pride that comes from creating something with nature.