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6 Health Benefits of Gardening (According to Doctors)

person holding garden soil

Gardening is one of the best ways to brighten up your landscape, get free flowers, and reap delicious harvests. However, many people probably don’t know that gardening also provides numerous benefits for your body and mind. From reducing anxiety to preventing cancer, starting your own garden can give you a lot more than flowers and tomatoes. Let’s check out some of the top health benefits you can get from gardening.

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The 6 Health Benefits of Gardening

1. Help Fight Disease With Vitamin D

Man watering the plants
Image Credit: kampus-production, Pexels

Gardening gets you out in the sunshine, which means you’ll be getting plenty of vitamin D. Just half an hour in the sun nets you 8,000–50,000 IUs (international units), depending on the sun and your skin. Vitamin D has a whole laundry list of known health benefits, primarily fighting disease.

Let’s check out what vitamin D can help your body fight below.
  • Breast cancer
  • Bladder cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Psoriasis
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma

2. Gardening Is Exercise

According to the CDC, gardening qualifies as exercise. You can work all the parts of your body during the course of gardening, including your body and heart. Raking and other activities qualify as light exercise, while digging, shoveling, and other activities are closer to moderate exercise. You work your heart by performing these physical activities, further strengthening it against heart disease in the future. As it turns out, gardening can help prevent age-related weight gain and helps you give a good night’s rest, too.

3. Help Protect Your Memory and Mental Health

Elderly woman watering plants
Image Credit: greta-hoffman, Pexels

Gardening is known to help prevent dementia and improve the mental health of dementia patients. In fact, many treatment programs for dementia and Alzheimer’s patients around the world include gardening. The medical basis behind this is that patients who garden for at least 20 minutes per day will show nerve growth in their brain’s memory center. Although it isn’t a foolproof cure for these patients, it can be surprisingly effective at improving and preventing memory-related conditions.

4. Gardening Helps to Recover From Addiction

Studies have shown that recovering addicts who choose gardening as a recovery aid completed recovery programs at a higher rate than those who chose art. Gardening evokes feelings of positivity and well-being, which may contribute to a more positive outlook on recovering from addiction. Negative feelings are known to make relapses more likely, and horticultural therapy has been around for a very long time for this very reason.

5. Improve Mental Health and Wellbeing

family gardening at the backyard
Image Credit: Halfpoint, Shutterstock

It’s a bit of an open secret that gardening helps to foster feelings of well-being and boost mood. People with depression in a multiyear study found significant improvement in their symptoms within weeks, and these improvements persisted for months. Considering that gardening has no downsides, this is a great way to improve mental health on a regular basis.

6. Enhances Sense of Community and Fights Loneliness

Although retirees are the most at risk of suffering from loneliness and depression, everyone can benefit from gardening. Gardening can be a great way to beautify your neighborhood, meet new people, grow yummy food, and stay connected to people who matter to you. This has powerful benefits to mental health and shouldn’t be underestimated.

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Gardening has a lot of immediate benefits, like growing your own produce and beautifying your property. However, it can drastically improve your quality of life by boosting your health and staving off disease. It can also help improve your mental health and keep your body in shape. Reap these benefits yourself and start a garden today!

Featured Image Credit: sandie clarke, Unsplash


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