Gardening is one of the most perennially (no pun intended) popular hobbies. There are myriad reasons for gardening’s appeal – spending time outdoors, the joy of working with your hands to create something, watching your plants grow, admiring your handiwork and of course, enjoying the vegetables, fruit and herbs that you’ve grown which taste far better than anything you could buy.
It’s a relaxing and rewarding pastime to be sure, but as it happens, gardening also provides a number of health benefits which you may not be aware of. Whether you’re already an avid gardener or you just need a push in the right direction to get started, it’s one of the healthiest things you could do with your leisure time.
Gardening is a moderate form of exercise. It may not be quite the same as going for a run, but gardening is among the forms of cardiovascular exercise recommended by the CDC and in studies, has been shown to be almost as good at burning off calories as light to moderate aerobics. If you spend half an hour or more in your garden at least three times a week (and many gardeners do), this alone will help you to stay in shape and fight obesity, as well as reducing your risk of heart disease and a long list of other ailments. Studies have shown that gardeners tend to have a lower risk of diabetes and osteoporosis and also get better sleep than their non-gardening peers.
There are a few reasons why gardeners generally enjoy better health. It could be the exercise alone, or it could have something to do with the mental and emotional benefits of the hobby. There’s also the fact that people who garden regularly tend to eat what they grow and get more fresh fruits and vegetables in their diet than those who don’t.
Gardening is also known to reduce stress and help alleviate anxiety and depression, two conditions which are endemic in most modern societies. In short, there are so many health benefits associated with gardening that it’s hard to think of a reason not to do it. Don’t have a lot of outdoor space? Take up container gardening. Don’t think you have time? Hopefully, now that you know how beneficial the hobby can be, you’ll find the time to get outside, prepare your garden and begin growing your plants as soon as possible.