It’s spring, which means it’s the perfect time to enjoy the great outdoors. One outdoor activity that you should consider taking up as a hobby is gardening. Why? Although the goal of gardening is to beautify your lawn, you may experience a number of health benefits from this activity as well. Here are some of the many ways that gardening is good for your health:
Counts as Cardio
According to the American College of Sports Medicine, you should either do 30 minutes of moderate intensity cardio five times per week, or 20 minutes of high intensity cardio three times per week to improve your overall health. Meeting this cardio minimum can help you control your blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease.
Gardening is considered a moderate to high intensity workout, depending on what you’re doing. If you garden three to five times per week, you can get fulfill this requirement while doing something you love!
Researchers in the Netherlands found that gardening is a better way to relieve stress than other leisure activities. The researchers asked a group of people to perform a stressful task. Then, one group of the participants were told to read inside for 30 minutes, while the other group was asked to garden for 30 minutes. The group that spent 30 minutes gardening was in a better mood than the other group and also had lower cortisol levels, which indicates that they relieved more stress than those who read for 30 minutes.
Elevates Your Mood
Research has shown that being around flowers improves your mood, so if you choose to tend to the flowers in your garden, you may notice that you are in a better mood afterwards.
Reduces Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease
The Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease recently published a study that found gardening can keep your brain sharp and reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease later on in life. People who already suffer from dementia may benefit from gardening, too. The same study found that gardening may improve the mood and overall well-being of people who have been diagnosed with dementia.
Various studies have found that people who spend more time around plants have deeper, stronger connections to others than those who don’t spend any time in nature. If you spend a lot of time gardening, it may help you build stronger relationships with those around you and become a more empathetic person.
Stronger Immune System
Studies have shown that children who are exposed to dirt in the early years of life will have stronger immune systems than those who are kept away from dirt. Children who spend time playing in the dirt also have lower rates of allergies, eczema, and asthma.
Gardening is a great way to help your children experience the benefits of being exposed to dirt at a young age. If you choose to let your children garden, make sure that you are using organic mulch and keeping toxic pesticides out of your yard.
If you are interested in gardening but don’t have a yard to do it in, look into community gardens near you. Many cities rent out plots to people who want to garden, but don’t have the space to do it where they live. This way, you can reap the many benefits of gardening even if you live in an apartment or townhouse.