- Gardening -

The Health Benefits of Gardening

Tending to your garden may help cultivate calm, strengthen immunity, and build community.

Person gardening

Cultivate Calm

Gardening promotes measurable improvements in mood and self-esteem, according to a British case-control study published in the Journal of Public Health. The researchers found that even those who spent less than 30 minutes gardening experienced reduced tension, depression, anger, and confusion.

Harvest Health

Adding homegrown fresh veggies and fruits to your diet produces bountiful benefits. Planting and harvesting your own tomatoes, cucumbers, leafy greens, and berries will supply you with nutritious, tasty produce. There’s also the emotional connection to the food and the pride that comes from growing it yourself.

Plant to Ease Pain

Most gardening tasks have been proven to build dexterity, balance, and strength. When Swiss researchers added horticulture therapy to a pain-management program, participants reported improvements in physical and mental health as well as an ability to better cope with pain.

Sow the Seeds of Community

Gardens — especially in community and allotment plots — provide opportunities to nourish social ties and strengthen a sense of community. Some 117 million Americans plant gardens, so you’ll likely be in good company. You can connect with local gardeners and national organizations via www.gardenclub.org.

Strengthen defense systems

Research has shown that building a diverse community of gut microbes boosts your immune system. Digging in the dirt exposes you to the billions of bacteria, protozoa, and fungi teeming within every square inch of your garden’s soil; these help balance your microbiome and keep you healthy.

Live Longer

Moderate leisure-time exercise can increase longevity, according to a recent study of 88,000 individuals published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. Participants who spent 10 to 59 minutes weekly performing activities like gardening and walking had an 18 percent lower risk of all-cause mortality compared with more sedentary study subjects.

is an Experience Life assistant editor.

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