You are here

The Blog: Let's Talk Gardening

Garden for Health and Wellness

Gardening during COVID-19 is one way to boost your all-around well-being and help to minimize the negative impact that stress and anxiety have on your health. From a mental aspect, gardening can be a great way for adults and children to cope with boredom and help families gain a sense of security. Bottom line- gardening is good for you and your family.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, moderate intensity activities such as gardening for 2.5 hours each week can reduce the risk for obesity, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, heart disease, stroke, colon cancer and premature death. Here are just some of the benefits you can reap from gardening:

It Clears Your Head - the benefits of gardening go well beyond physical health. Working and being in green spaces provides cognitive rest that can help reduce feelings of stress, depression and anxiety. In other words, if you’re looking for ways to relieve stress, look no further than your own backyard. Many people who garden do it because they enjoy it and say that gardening helps them to relax and escape from daily stresses. The psychological benefits of being outdoors and working in the sunshine and fresh air are also clear. Studies have shown the beneficial effects of simply being in nature for decreasing stress. In much the same way as a beautiful painting elevates the mood, looking at a summer garden, soaking up the colors, smells and sounds can help overall wellbeing.

It's Heart-Healthy - any activity that is brisk enough to leave you slightly out of breath and raise the heartbeat counts as moderate intensity exercise, which, according to the experts, can help protect against heart disease. Like any other form of exercise, you need to be active for at least 30 minutes for there to be a benefit. So, if the sun is shining what better incentive do you need for getting out into the garden and digging in the dirt?

It Burns Calories - losing weight requires you to burn more calories than you consume, and the amount of weight you’ll lose gardening depends on several factors including your size and the work you are performing. When it comes to burning calories, digging and shoveling are at the top of the list followed by mowing and weeding. Spend a half an hour doing any of the activities below and expect to burn between 100 to 250 calories (examples provided by Iowa State University):

  • Digging and shoveling: 250 calories
  • Lawn mowing: 195 calories
  • Weeding: 105 calories
  • Raking: 100 calories

It Tones You Up - not only does gardening burn calories – it strengthens and tones muscles as well. Gardening is a whole-body workout utilizing legs, buttocks, arms, shoulders, neck, back and abdomen. For example, hedge trimming helps shape your biceps while raking and mowing will all help to strengthen the arms and shoulders as well as tone the abdominal muscles. Lifting bags of mulch, pushing a wheelbarrow and shoveling also provide resistance training, which leads to healthier bones and joints. To get the most out of your gardening workout alternate gardening tasks to make use of different muscle groups.

It Provides Good Nutrition - gardening is a simple way to get more nutrients in your diet. When you grow your own vegetables, herbs and berries you have more control. Don’t have a green thumb, no worries. Plant things that have a high sensory appeal like herbs. You can appreciate the smell, watch then respond to your nurturing and use them in cooking.

It Promotes Learning - don't forget to make kids part of the planting and growing process. Gardening helps kids engage their curiosity, learn to be resourceful and gain self-confidence. Exposure to fruits and vegetables may also encourage them to eat more of these beneficial foods.

It Brings Families Together - family gardening is a great way to plan and create something together and gets the whole family outside for some well-needed fresh air and physical activity.

The great thing about gardening is that it can be both energetic and relaxing at the same time. And there is nothing better than being able to stand back and admire the fruits of your labor while improving your health and wellbeing at the same time.