6 Amazing Benefits of Gardening


4/12/2022

From warding off dementia to eating healthy, growing your own garden offers a surprising array of benefits for your body and mind.

Time in the garden can benefit you in the following ways:

  • Boosts heart health — Raking leaves, weeding, and other gardening activities count as cardio exercise. Medical experts recommend a minimum of 150 minutes of cardio a week, or approximately 30 minutes, five days a week. That could be the equivalent of planting a lot of beautiful flowers or healthy tomatoes!
  • Reduces depression, anxiety, and stress — Studies show that tending to vegetables and other plants reduces stress and boosts your mood. Seeing all you accomplished in the garden can certainly raise spirits.
  • Lowers risk for dementia — Digging in the dirt may help protect against dementia, according to research published in the journal Clinical Medicine. Gardening is a physical, mental, and leisure activity — a combination that can boost memory and reduce the risk of dementia.
  • Helps you eat well — Cultivating vegetables and herbs encourages your family to eat healthy. Consider asking each family member to choose a vegetable they want to plant (and then eat when it is grown!).
  • Improves sleep — Being active during the day — including sweating it out in your garden — helps you sleep better at night. Getting a good night’s sleep is important for your overall health. It also reduces stress and lowers your risk of serious diseases.
  • Saves money — Growing plants often costs less than buying them at the store. There are many places to buy plants and seedlings in our area. Check out local farms and garden centers.

Prevent Gardening Injuries

Reduce your risk of injury in the garden with these tips from experts at Emerson’s Clough Family Center for Rehabilitative and Sports Therapies.

  • Always stretch before and after gardening.
  • When lifting heavy objects like a large pot or bag of soil, use your legs rather than bending with your back. Carry heavy items close to your body.
  • Avoid twisting your back. Instead, turn with your feet when shoveling or lifting.
  • Decrease knee pain by kneeling on a mat or pad in the garden. If kneeling is too painful, sit on a stool or a sturdy overturned bucket.
  • To prevent overuse injuries in your hands and wrists, use gardening tools with enlarged/padded and curved handles as well as pruners and clippers that have a ratcheting mechanism.
  • Wear gardening gloves and hold items with a light grasp.
  • When pruning, pull branches close to you rather than reaching or standing on your toes.

Stretches to Perform After Gardening

When weeding and planting, you spend a lot of time bending, which can tighten your muscles. Stretch them out before you stop for the day to reduce your risk of pain and injury.

Half-kneeling hip flexor stretch — Kneel to the ground on one knee. Tighten your abdominals and gently lunge forward until you feel a stretch in the front of your hip. Repeat on the other side.

Pectoral shoulder stretch — Stand in a doorway with hands outstretched to the sides in the shape of a T, with palms resting on the wall or door frame. Gently lean forward until you feel stretching across the top of your chest/front of shoulders.

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