The simple act of gardening provides people many benefits to their physical and mental health. The benefits of gardening include a reduction in stress, increased mental clarity, reduced obesity and high blood pressure, and a reduction in the risk of developing different diseases and conditions.
Hope Grows makes gardening the centerpiece of the respite services that the non-profit organization offers caregivers. That’s because Hope Grows leaders know the power of reconnecting with nature through the act of gardening, and the many benefits it can provide, even to those who are experiencing a great deal of stress.
For those who want an enjoyable way to feel better, gardening can provide what they need.
The Benefits of Gardening
The benefits of gardening extend to both physical and mental health. They include the following.
Studies have shown that one of the best benefits of gardening is a reduction in stress. Stress can lead to many health problems. Physical problems can include a higher risk of cardiovascular issues. Studies also have also shown that chronic stress eventually takes its toll on brain function, causing people to experience faster age-related cognitive decline later in life. Communing with nature through gardening helps lower stress levels. One study in the Journal of Health Psychology found that those who garden experienced a greater reduction in stress than those who read books (another habit known to lower stress).
Increasing Mental Clarity
Many caregivers may find themselves in something of a mental fog, typically brought on by the stress and anxiety that caregiving can cause. Working in a garden has been shown to provide people better mental clarity and increase their feelings of well-being. They also report feeling more tranquil and relaxed. This all provides an excellent example of the restorative power of gardening.
Reducing Obesity, High Blood Pressure
Studies down by researchers for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have found that 2.5 hours of moderate-to-intense exercise such as gardening can lower the risk of becoming obese or for suffering from high blood pressure. Also, those who garden tend to do it for longer periods of time than those who bike or walk.
Reducing the Risk of Chronic Disease
The benefits of gardening also extend to lowering the risk of developing other diseases and chronic medical conditions. Those include type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, heart disease, stroke, depression and colon cancer. The risk of all of these is lowered by the type of moderate exercise that gardening provides. Another benefit of gardening is that you provide your community something to enjoy, bringing nature into areas where people don’t always get the chance to enjoy gardens. So, in addition to helping your own health, gardening also allows you to make the world a better place for others.