In addition to providing nutritious fruits, vegetables, and herbs for your meals, along with beautiful flowers to decorate your dinner table, gardening offers a number of benefits for your health.

Along with relaxation, you get a little exercise, and all that nature has to offer. In no time, you’ll realize you should be doing this every day, especially when you learn gardening can burn anywhere from 200 to 600 calories an hour. Here are the many benefits and reasons for you to get out in your garden today.

Benefits of Gardening for Your Health

Digging in the soil and planting a tomato plant, and then spending months tending it can result in one of the most fulfilling ways to get more flavorful produce than those found at the supermarket. But that’s not the only benefit you’ll experience.

Whether you have all sorts of space to build a good old-fashioned garden or you’re going to be trying container gardening, the benefits may surprise you.

woman gardening with her young daughter

All Types of Exercise

Gardening is a great way to focus on fitness because it combines strength, endurance, and flexibility. The more you do in your garden, the more inclusive your workout will be.

If you’re simply weeding, you’re working on flexibility, joint strength, and some of your major muscle groups. However, more strenuous activities, like laying pavers, digging holes, and tilling the garden, not only give your muscles a big workout, but they get your heart pumping too, which has fantastic all-over health benefits.

Boost Longevity

A study from the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that you can support your health without ever going to the gym. When comparing those who did traditional exercises in a gym to people who were active in their lives with regular gardening, walking, or dancing, they discovered significant benefits. In summary, gardening can help you live longer.

A Good Rehab Tool

The American Horticultural Therapy Association points to Dr. Benjamin Rush, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence and the “Father of American Psychiatry,” as a leader in promoting the positive effects of gardening as a rehab tool.

Woman planting flowers in her yard

In a therapeutic sense, gardening helps people learn new skills or regain lost ones by improving memory, cognitive abilities, task initiation, language skills, and socialization. Add the benefits of muscle strengthening, coordination improvements, balance building, and endurance.

And don’t forget to consider how gardening encourages people to work independently, problem-solve, and follow directions. This all comes together to form a wonderfully complete approach to therapy and rehabilitation.

Mental Health Boost

If you’re feeling stressed, down, or a little bit lost, then you might find comfort from digging in the dirt. It’s been found that soil microbes can help support your mood. Just by digging your hands into the earth and exposing yourself to specific microbes, you can support your immune system and your mood.

If you talk to any avid gardener, they’ll tell you that they’ve known about the positive mental benefits of gardening for a long time.

Middle-aged couple gardening

Stress Relief and Self Esteem

Published in the Journal of Health Psychology, a Dutch research group studied gardening and stress. Subjects in the study all did the same stressful task and were then asked to either read or garden for 30 minutes. While both groups showed a reduction in the stress hormone cortisol, the gardening group showed a significant shift toward a positive mood.

Cortisol has been linked to problems with immune function, obesity, memory decline, learning problems, heart disease, and more. This news that gardening can help reduce cortisol production can easily be translated into a habit of relaxing after a stressful day in the garden.

Support Brain Health

Gardening can be the best way to reduce your risk of dementia. According to a long-term study on lifestyle and dementia in the elderly, daily gardening reduced the risk for dementia in both men and women by 34%.

What causes dementia and Alzheimer’s is still unclear, which means there is no treatment yet available. However, the good news is that there are some things you can do to help you stay mentally fit, and one of them is gardening.

A young girl gardening with her grandparents

The Bottom Line

No matter what age you are, establishing a regular gardening habit can help support your overall health and promote longevity and a more enjoyable life.

There are many significant benefits to gardening and exposing yourself to nature in a fundamental and hands-on way. Scientists are just beginning to understand what gardeners have always known.

As a bonus, at the end of your gardening, you’ll be able to enjoy your plants and maybe have some fresh produce for your dinner as well as beautiful flowers to decorate the table.