Benefits of Gardening

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health benefits of gardening

What are the benefits of gardening?

There are many benefits of gardening. Meta-analytic estimates published in Preventive Medicine showed a significant positive effect of gardening on health outcomes.

“Studies reported a wide range of health outcomes, such as reductions in depression, anxiety, and body mass index, as well as increases in life satisfaction, quality of life, and sense of community. Meta-analytic estimates showed a significant positive effect of gardening on the health outcomes.”

Benefits of gardening in the adolescent population

An article in Health Promotion Practices showed that adolescents who gardened ate healthier. They also exercised more and had better mental health.

“Gardening was positively associated with healthy dietary habits among students, such as greater fruit and vegetable consumption. Gardening was also positively associated with physical activity and improved mental health and well-being. Students who participate in gardening report slightly lower levels of depressive symptoms and enhanced emotional well-being and experience higher family connection than students who do not participate in gardening.”

Benefits of gardening in the elderly

An article in Home Health Care Practices showed that gardening “had a positive impact on the independence and emotional well-being of frail aged people and younger people with a functional disability”

Studies reported a wide range of health outcomes, such as reductions in depression, anxiety, and body mass index, as well as increases in life satisfaction, quality of life, and sense of community

Benefits of gardening in patients with dementia

An article published in Dementia showed that Daycare attendees benefitted for gardening.

“The effects were assessed using Dementia Care Mapping and questionnaires completed by family carers. High levels of well-being were observed while the participants were engaged in horticultural therapy, and these were sustained once the program was completed. This study adds to the growing evidence on the benefits of horticultural therapy for people with dementia who have enjoyed gardening in the past.”

Benefits of gardening on stress levels

An article published in Work suggested that  gardening may decrease stress,

“Through exploring themes of sensory experience, safety, sense of purpose, and renewed relationships, this research gives space to former soldiers’ stories of experience and to their individual realizations that their embodied interconnections with nature provide alternative experiences to their military training and combat exposure.”

An article in published Neuroscience  showed that bacteria exposure increased serotonin levels.

“Researchers from London discovered that a “friendly” bacteria commonly found in soil activated brain cells to produce the brain chemical serotonin and altered the mice’s behavior in a similar fashion as antidepressants.”

In addition, most people garden during daylight hours. Sun exposure has been shown to increase serotonin levels as well.

Benefits of gardening on the immune system

An article published in Science suggested that exposure to bacteria may increase immunity later in life.

“Exposure to microbes during early childhood is associated with protection from immune-mediated diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and asthma.”

There are no studies that I know of which support increased immunity in adults who garden.

Benefits of gardening on short term memory

According to the University of Michigan, outdoor activities increases short-term memory by as much as 20%. Looking at pictures of nature scenes can also help improve memory. Norway airs a show called Slow TV on public broadcasting that shows nature scenes for hours at a time. The CBS Sunday morning show also airs a nature scene at the end of its broadcast.

Benefits of gardening on diet

Fresh food generally tastes better. Many vegetables are picked before they are ripe to allow for shipping.

If you are growing your own food you are more likely to eat healthier.

You know what is going in the soil. You can make your own compost or you can buy it. It is your choice what type of fertilizer you will use, you can avoid chemicals that may impose health risks.

Benefits of gardening on exercise levels

Gardening is a form of exercise, it is considered a whole body exercise. Exercising can help you maintain a healthy weight. Wedding pulling and digging are forms of resistance training which have been shown to improve bone health.

How many calories are burned when gardening?

According to Web MD, “Heavy yard work (landscaping, moving rocks, hauling dirt): 400-600 calories per hour. Raking and bagging leaves: 350-450 calories per hour. Gardening: pulling weeds, planting flowers, etc.: 200-400 calories per hour. Mowing the lawn: 250-350 calories per hour.”

Benefits of gardening on sun exposure

Sun exposure can increase serotonin levels as we mentioned, it can also increase vitamin D production.

What does gardening do for you?

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About Sharon T McLaughlin MD FACS 223 Articles
I am a physician who is interested in providing health information and health tips so that we may live healthy lives.

4 Comments

  1. Gardening has a lot of benefits! For us, it creates community. As our family goes in a million different directions, It’s one of the few times that we spend quality time together.

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