In honor of April being National Garden Month, and this beautiful spring weather, we’d like to share some of the amazing health benefits gardening can bring into your life. Gardening is so healthy that it could, in fact, add years your life. Here are some of our favorite health benefits one can gain from the healthy hobby of gardening.
Improves Brain Health and Reduces Alzheimer’s Risk
A study conducted on the long-term effects of gardening on the brain found that daily gardening was the single most effective activity in reducing the prevalence of dementia by 36-47%. This is likely due to the various health benefits the act of gardening brings, such as increased strength, endurance, learning, dexterity, sensory function and problem solving skills.
Improves Self-Esteem and Lowers Stress
There was a Dutch study conducted that showed the cortisol (stress hormone) levels of those who gardened for 30 minutes, vs. those who read for 30 minutes. The study found that those who gardened for 30 minutes had much lower cortisol levels, and much higher self-esteem levels than those who read.
Reduces Risk for Stroke and Increases Heart Health
A study conducted in Stockholm found that regular gardening reduced the risk for stroke in those over the age of 60 by 30%. For those who may have physical difficulties or need home health care, bending or leaning over to garden may present some problems. This is an easy fix through incorporating raised garden beds. It is also a healthy idea to expose your skin to the sun without sunscreen for 10-15 minutes per day in order to absorb your daily dose of Vitamin D. This is another factor in reducing heart disease and other issues associated with heart health. It’s also best to conduct gardening sessions in smaller time segments than doing it all at once, as sitting is another cause for poor heart health.
Reduced Depression Symptoms and Improved Mental Health
There are a variety of factors associated with gardening that can help stimulate one’s mental health. These factors include physical activity, sunlight, being surrounded by nature, the satisfaction one gets from a job well done, and the cognitive stimulation it provides. For the best mental health benefits associated with gardening, keep a garden that has a balanced mix of plants to nourish all of the senses, such as food-producing plants, flowers for visual appeal and nicely scented plants.
Regulates the Immune System
The immune system is elevated due to the Vitamin D absorption gardening brings. It is also boosted when one decides to forego the gardening gloves, and get their hands dirty. Gardening dirt contains nutrient bacteria or “Mycobacterium vaccae”. This bacterium has shown to improve common symptoms of a weak immune system, such as asthma, allergies and psoriasis.
There’s nothing healthier than growing your own vegetables. So long as you use healthy soil, lay off the pesticides, and eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables from your garden when they are ripe, you will be greatly increasing your health on numerous levels. It’s also a cost-effective solution to purchasing expensive organic produce at your local store, farmer’s market, or co-op.
Being Surrounded by Green Plants Adds Years to Your Life
It’s no secret that being surrounded by nature and green spaces can benefit our physical and mental health. A couple of studies conducted by the CDC and Michigan State University found that small increases of 10% in green space surrounding a person’s location of home could increase their life by a number of years.
This just goes to show how important gardening and being outdoors in nature is for our well-being. If you’d like more information on health care in Phoenix, finding a caregiver to assist you in gardening, or getting more active outdoors, we are here for you. For more information on our services, experience, or rates, call (602) 396-5742 or fill out our contact form. We look forward to serving you.