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Gardening Offers Significant Mental and Physical Health Benefits: Discover Why Tending to Plants Can Improve Your Well-being

Gardening Offers Remarkable Mental and Physical Health Benefits: Here’s Why You Should Tend to Your Garden

Not into gardening yet? Maybe you should be. Research indicates that spending time outdoors planting seeds, pulling weeds, and nurturing plants can significantly enhance your overall well-being.

Are you ready to explore the plant nursery? Continue reading to learn how gardening can improve both your mental and physical health, and why growing fruits and vegetables alongside beautiful blooms might be worth a try.

What Research Reveals About Gardening A 2018 analysis from the United Kingdom found that people who spent time in gardens and green spaces experienced improved mental and physical health. Researchers attributed these benefits to factors such as exposure to vitamin D, social interaction in community gardens, and physical activity that enhances balance, strength, and dexterity.

Similarly, a 2017 study reported reductions in depression and anxiety symptoms among those who gardened, along with increases in quality of life, community engagement, physical activity levels, and cognitive function.

An umbrella review of studies published in 2024 in Systematic Reviews concluded that gardening and horticultural therapy positively impact mental well-being, overall health, and quality of life.

Further, a 2021 study highlighted that gardening therapy benefits people with dementia by increasing engagement, reducing agitation and depression, and potentially decreasing the need for medication.

Research published in The Lancet Planetary Health in 2023 showed that community garden participants consumed more fiber, were more physically active, and had lower stress levels compared to non-participants.

A recently published 2024 study involving older cancer survivors found that while a vegetable gardening intervention did not significantly improve diet, physical activity, or physical function overall, participants did increase their consumption of vegetables and fruits. They also reported significant improvements in perceived health and physical performance compared to non-gardening peers.

How Gardening Enhances Mental Health Dr. Andrea Papa, a psychiatrist and chief medical officer at Advantage Behavioral Health, explains that gardening supports mental health by diverting focus away from stressors. Engaging in the gardening process allows individuals to find peace and relaxation, reducing the mental strain of daily life.

Spending time outdoors also contributes to mental well-being, particularly through exposure to sunlight and the subsequent production of vitamin D, which is essential for mental health.

Dr. Shivani Amin, a specialist in functional medicine, adds that gardening lowers cortisol levels, the hormone responsible for stress regulation, thereby promoting mental relaxation and overall well-being.

Gardening can also foster social connections, especially when participating in community gardening programs. Building friendships and collaborating with others in garden activities can significantly benefit mental health by providing social support and a sense of belonging.

How Gardening Boosts Physical Health Gardening is a beneficial activity for cardiovascular health, as it involves physical tasks such as weeding, digging, and planting that elevate heart rate and improve circulation. Enhanced cardiovascular health reduces the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

According to Dr. Gerda Maissel, founder of My MD Advisor, gardening is considered a low to moderate intensity physical activity, burning approximately 90 to 160 calories per hour. This activity level, combined with everyday movements like bending and walking, enhances flexibility, mobility, and muscle strength.

Dr. Raj Dasgupta, an internal medicine specialist and medical reviewer, points out that gardening not only promotes physical activity but also improves diet quality. Growing your own fruits and vegetables encourages healthier eating habits, providing access to fresh, organic produce while reducing exposure to pesticides and chemicals.

In summary, gardening offers a multitude of benefits for both mental and physical health, making it a rewarding hobby to consider for overall well-being.

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