Gardening is a wonderful hobby that I enjoy every day. It’s an opportunity to be creative, encourage life, create beautiful landscapes, enjoy the fruits of your labor (literally), and so much more. Gardening is a hobby that brings a lot of people happiness and self-satisfaction. I think the enjoyment of gardening is enough of a reward, but there are actually many health benefits to it as well. Interested in knowing some of the health benefits of gardening? Below are 5 health benefits of gardening.
1. Gardening Increases Vitamin D
Let’s face it, with the amount of technology and entertainment at our fingertips, and 9-5 jobs in front of a computer, there’s a limited time now more than ever that people get to spend outside. But there are so many benefits to going outside and getting a little sunshine.
Vitamin D is produced by sun exposure. It helps your bones to absorb calcium for strong bones and teeth. Vitamin D also helps boost your immune system and lowers your chances of catching the flu. And Vitamin D can help with anxiety, depression, and boost your energy. So if you’re feeling tired, going outside for 10-15 minutes once a day can help. Keep in mind sunscreen can prevent your body from absorbing Vitamin D. To avoid midday sun, try going out before 10 AM or after 4 PM.
Just make sure you limit your exposure and don’t get burned. If you’re planning on being outside for an extended period of time, cover up.
2. Gardening Boosts Your Immune System
By being outside and working with dirt and plants you actually boost your immune system, which helps your body protect itself against infections and other illnesses. The soil is rich in minerals, bacteria, and other microorganisms that help boost your immune system, which ends up helping your overall health.
I know how it sounds, why would you want to get dirty? But being exposed to a limited amount of bacteria will help your immune system and protect against allergies and diseases later in life. It helps your immune system get stronger.
3. Gardening Encourages Exercise
Exercise is one of the health benefits of gardening. When you garden, you stretch to pull weeds and plant seeds. You lift bags of dirt and move around pots. You squat. You sweat. You get exercise! Most days the exercise won’t be too strenuous, but you’re still be moving around to help circulation and improve your heart health. Other days you’ll be getting ready for a new season, or redesigning a layout, and let me tell you, you’ll feel your gardening the next day!
Gardening gives people an opportunity to get out and stretch, without it being too overwhelming or strenuous. Let me tell you, you’ll get more exercise from gardening than you would from sitting in front of a computer or TV!
4. Gardening Creates an Environment for Grounding
Grounding, also known as earthing, is the act of coming in direct contact with the earth. This means having your skin touch soil, sand, grass, water, or a conductive surface such as unsealed concrete. Rubber-soled shoes prevent you from being able to ground. So does asphalt, plastic, and wood.
The earth is electron-enriched, which means it has a negative charge. Free radicals are positively charged. Electromagnetic radiation from computers, cell phones, broadcasts, microwaves, WiFi, and Bluetooth can cause an increase in free radicals in your body. Free radicals are toxic byproducts that build up but can be neutralized by the negatively charged ions that grounding creates.
The earth acts as a ground for our bodies, just as it does for electrical outlets where it reduces the extra positive charge. Grounding is believed to reduce inflammation, improve circulation, help cortisol rhythm to balance out, and improve sleep. So next time you’re gardening, take off your shoes and enjoy a few extra negative ions.
5. Gardening Acts as a Stress Relief
While not directly a physical health benefit, stress relief is definitely one of the health benefits of gardening. Think of a zen garden where you’re creating patterns in the sand. Gardening is very soothing and relaxing. When you garden you can take a mental break from the day where there always seems to be too much to do and too little time. There’s work, there’s errands, families to take care of and life events. Sometimes it’s not only nice, but it’s also needed, to take a break. For your own health, it’s important to take breaks where you can become rejuvenated and productive again.
Stress can cause physical health problems, including hormonal imbalance, increased blood pressure, and inflammation. By working in your garden, or even sitting out in it and enjoying what you’ve created with a cold drink, you can help your body relieve stress and get some fresh air.
Bonus! – Gardening Provides your Body Nutrition
If you’re growing an organic backyard garden, you are giving your body healthy, nutritional food to eat! The fact that it’s so local means it’s as fresh as you can get. Which also means it has the highest amount of nutritional value that it could possibly have. And if you use organic methods, you know there are no harmful pesticides being used. In fact, you know exactly what was used to grow your produce. I don’t know about you, but I enjoy that level of transparency and freshness! And it definitely cheaper than any organic produce you buy at the store. If you’re interested in starting your own garden, check out 3 Tips for Starting Your First Garden and my Garden Tools Recommendations.
So there you have it. 5 health benefits of gardening! What’s your favorite part of gardening? Comment below!