Sure, you understand that gardening can benefit your health by providing nutritious fruits and vegetables. But you may be surprised by other health benefits it can offer.
Cuts your risk of heart disease.
Gardening provides powerful heart health benefits despite being a low-impact workout. According to research published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, it can actually cut the risk of a heart attack or stroke and prolong life by 30 percent. The benefits come from the combination of physical exercise and stress reduction from working in the dirt. Carrying equipment, pushing a wheelbarrow, pulling weeds, planting seeds and shoveling dirt all lend to a whole-body workout.
Decreases risk of dementia.
Gardening is not only good exercise for your body, it’s also a healthy workout for your brain. Research published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease reported that working in a garden is a powerful way to protect mental health. Study participants experienced increased brain volume and a 50 percent reduction in the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
According to researchers from NASA, working with plants provides a great amount of stress relief. You read that correctly. The same people responsible for sending humans into space have discovered that gardening can keep astronauts sane and happy while in outer space. They found that planting and caring for seeds provided great mental health benefits. Also, an article in the Journal of Health Psychology reported that gardening can lower stress by decreasing cortisol levels (a hormone that is part of the body’s fight-or-flight response).
Don’t have a garden? Or don’t have the space for one? No worries! Research has shown you can still reap the benefits of gardening by planting and caring for flowers or plants in small pots. Happy gardening and good health.