The rewards of planting a garden might seem obvious. The abundance of organic produce that you’ve tended to yourself in your own backyard. But there might be benefits to gardening that you haven’t considered.
Let’s shed some sunlight on those benefits to encourage you to take advantage of warmer temperatures and get planting.
1. Lowers Stress
Gardening is a meditative activity. Some avid gardeners say its effect is akin to therapy for them. When you’re tending to plants day after day you get to see them grow and progress, which brings you a sense of satisfaction.
A 2017 review of more than 20 studies found that regular gardening reduces tension as well as anger, fatigue and anxiety. One reason? Gardening gets you outside, which is a natural mood booster. One study compared outdoor gardening to indoor reading for stress relief. After 30 minutes, both groups reported better moods-but cortisol tests showed that stress levels had dropped much more for the gardeners, and their sunny moods lasted longer.
2. Builds Muscle Strength
If you’ve ever spent an afternoon tending to a garden, you know that it works all the major muscle groups: legs, arms, back, core. But had you considered that it also increases hand strength? Doing simple tasks like filling pots and mixing soil can improve your grip strength which is a marker of overall health.
3. Supports Brain Health
Who would have thought that gardening would have a positive effect on their brain? As it turns out, researchers at UCLA and the University of Pittsburgh found in a 2016 study on older adults, that doing more physical activities like gardening, dancing and riding an exercise bike actually increased their brain volume. This improved their memory and reduced their Alzheimer’s risk by half.
4. Helps You Eat More Vegetables
The care and time that goes into tending a vegetable garden will have you make sure your hard work doesn’t go to waste. One way to get yourself to eat new vegetables is to plant them and watch them grow. You’ll feel differently about them for sure.
Gardening gives you farm-fresh, in-season produce and lets you explore new flavors and varieties. There are varieties of vegetable seeds available that you may not have heard of.
There’s also the end of season harvest when your kitchen will be filled with your ripe veggies. You’ll need to find creative ways of using them all. Think of the possibilities – canning, soups, casseroles!
5. Increases wellbeing
A thriving garden feeds your senses and creates an intimate experience of nature in your backyard. Don’t underestimate the power of feeling connected with nature. In fact, NASA researchers began gardening experiments to help astronauts fight sensory deprivation and ease the boredom and isolation of long missions. They used LED lights for 10 hours a day to grow zucchini, zinnias, sunflowers, soybeans on the space station. The astronaut farmers said they looked forward to checking their plants each day, and that seeing their bright colors helped during weeks of dark orbit.
There you have it – 5 more reasons to get planting! In short, gardening makes you happy. It’s a great way to connect with nature and get back in touch with the little things in life that are important. Watching and nourishing the growth of your own garden gives you a deep sense of satisfaction and accomplishment – and provides healthy produce for your family to enjoy.