Why Gardening Is Good for Your Health
Food| | By Lauren Boudreau
Sometimes it can seem like technology is controlling our lives. Like somehow the things that were meant to make life easier, have instead made it harder and more stressful. If you think that, you’re probably not alone. In fact, 18-24-year-olds who are more available via cellphone report more mental health issues, according to a study by the University of Gothenburg in Sweden.
So, what can be done about it? Research suggests getting in touch with nature and unplugging for a bit can have positive impacts on your health. Gardening in particular has been linked to many health benefits, including lowering stress, burning calories, and even making you happier.
Here we’ll list all the ways you can improve your life and your health by gardening.
A Garden a Day, Keeps the Doctor Away
Gardening can actually increase your immune system. While you’re outside on a sunny day planting geraniums, you’re also soaking up plenty of vitamin D, which also helps your body absorb calcium. That will help strengthen your immune system and keeps your bones strong.
Gardening Keeps You Fit
It doesn’t take a genius to know that gardening burns calories. But did you actually know that it is considered a moderate to high intensity activity? In fact, you can burn up to 330 calories per hour for doing light gardening or yard work.
It Lowers Blood Pressure
The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute recommends gardening for lowering blood pressure. Just 30 minutes of this moderate exercise can actively work to decrease your blood pressure.
Decrease Your Stress
According to CNN, a study in the Netherlands reported that gardening can relieve more stress than other leisure activities. Anna Ranieri, aPhD and psychotherapist, recommends being present in the moment and mindful of all nature surrounding you, instead of worrying about a meeting or big presentation that may be coming up.
It Will Make You Smile
A study published by Evolutionary Psychology found that when presented with flowers, every participant smiled. Women who were presented with flowers were found to have a positive mood up to three days later. The study concluded that flowers make people happy because they “evolved to rapidly induce positive emotion in humans.”
Research found that 30 minutes a week of gardening can increase a man’s performance in bed. Working on the yard, weeding, or planting was found to reduce “men’s risk of failing to live up to expectations in bed by more than a third.” The study also found that similar moderate exercise can have the same benefit.
Decrease Risk for Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is a disease where bone strength decreases. The functions provided by gardening, such as stretching and pulling, require strength and help ward off the bone density disease.
Reduce Risk of Stroke and Heart Attack
A Stockholm study found that for people age 60 and over, gardening reduces the risk of stroke and heart attack by up to 30 percent. Kneeling or leaning on soft areas, like flower beds, is also better for the joints.
Gardening can help depression through a combination of stimulants. The exercise you get releases endorphins, also known as your “happy hormone;” flowers, as revealed above, will make you smile, which is known to elevate mood even if the smiling is forced; and (also revealed above) gardening will lower stress levels. All these aid in easing your mind. A new field of horticulture therapy has also emerged as a way to help treat mental health issues.