Gardening is so much more than making your yard or garden look beautiful. Planting verdant greenery and blossoming buds will have your backyard sanctuary looking amazing, but there are additional benefits of gardening than just for visual appeal.
Many people took to planting and gardening as they spent more time at home to give them something to do. No matter your skill level or how often you do it, you can experience some of the health benefits of gardening. Being out in nature, physical exercise, and fresh air can do wonders for your overall wellbeing.
In this guide, we’ll go over gardening benefits and some tips for starting your garden.
Natural Mood Booster
Gardening and interacting with nature can increase your mood and self-esteem. It can also improve your well-being while working to reduce feelings of anger. Just being around plants and other greenery can improve your mental health, and so can gardening.
Being outside exposes you to more sunshine and higher amounts of vitamin D, increasing your serotonin. Serotonin is a chemical that’s released in your brain that induces happiness. People’s overall mood increases a large amount after spending time outside and around plants.
Decreased Amounts of Stress and Anxiety
If you’re feeling stressed and anxious, gardening is a great outlet for keeping your mind and hands busy. Your brain focuses on another task instead of what is bringing you distress. Being in a greener environment tends to make humans more relaxed and decreases symptoms of stress.
Some hospitals or other facilities use gardening as a form of rehabilitation for those recovering from strokes, injuries, or other medical conditions. It helps them rebuild their mental and physical health.
Learning a new skill boosts confidence for those feeling out of control. Taking care of plants and seeing results gives a person value.
Gardening Burns Calories
Gardening and light yard work is considered a moderate level of exercise. During one hour of light yard work or gardening, you can burn around 330 calories. You’ll burn more than if you walked at a mid-level pace for the same length of time.
Additionally, spending just 30 minutes outside doing gardening can help reduce your blood pressure. For those with high blood pressure, it can prevent and control it.
If you incorporate chopping wood, digging, or shoveling into your garden routine, that bumps it up to a vigorous level of exercise. No matter what level of gardening you do, you’ll be working every muscle in your body. Some people even wake up sore after spending the day in their garden.
Don’t discount plant shopping either. You can burn a lot of calories walking around your local plant shop, like the Franz Witte garden center. Take your time picking out your plants, knowing you’re burning calories as you pursue.
Protect Your Memory
Gardening is considered exercising and exercise helps improve your brain’s cognitive functioning. It can help increase growth in the memory-related nerves of your brain.
A study was done in Korea where dementia patients were given 20-minute gardening tasks to do. Researchers discovered increased amounts of the patients’ brain nerve growth factors after planting and raking in vegetable gardens. Horticultural therapy is also known to improve mental health.
Gives People a Sense of Purpose
If you’ve been feeling unmoored lately, gardening can help you feel a sense of purpose. You’re nurturing and taking care of plants, sometimes from seed all the way to a large plant. You’ll experience feelings of pride and purpose as it starts to grow.
It doesn’t necessarily have to be a full-sized garden. You can feel this taking care of a few indoor houseplants as well. Keeping plants inside during the colder months can help harvest this feeling year-round.
If your garden has vegetables, you’ll be encouraged to start eating healthier. Fresh, healthy food will be right outside your door.
Involve your whole family in the process. It’ll also encourage your children to eat healthier as they experience foods they might not have tried before.
Increase Feelings of Connection in Your Family and Community
Community, family, and school gardens are becoming more prevalent. Having human interaction can boost your mood and feelings of connection.
Encourage your children to take pictures of their progress with gardening. That will help increase their sense of well-being and accomplishment as they see their plants grow. Working in a community garden can also help you meet people in your neighborhood that you may not have otherwise.
Gardening Tips for Starting a Garden
Ready to experience the countless health benefits from gardening? You don’t have to be a plant expert to plant and take care of a fulfilling garden.
Here are some helpful tips when preparing for your garden:
- Think about what you want to plant — vegetable, herbs, flowers, or a combination
- Select the correct spot in your yard that gets around 6 to 8 hours of sun each day
- Pick plants that will do well in your climate
- Choose a spot that is fairly flat
- Clear the ground where you want to plant and improve the soil with fertilizers if needed
- Water your plants at the right time and the correct amount, depending on their needs
- Use mulch to protect your garden from weeds
- Pull weeds out as they start to grow
- Harvest your vegetables as soon as they’re ready
Enjoy the Countless Benefits of Gardening
Bright flowers and fresh vegetables aren’t the only benefits of gardening. Your mental and emotional wellbeing can improve drastically by being outdoors and taking care of your plants. While there are ideal times of the year to start a garden, don’t hesitate to get outside if you have the urge.
To read more lifestyle and outdoor tips, check out one of our other articles.
*Photos by Karolina Grabowska