Hidden Health Benefits of Gardening

For those who enjoy time spent in the dirt, it should come as no surprise that working outside helps boost your overall mood.  However, in addition to providing fresh produce for your dinner table or seasonal flowers for your patio, gardening actually offers a variety of health benefits.  Read more to learn the top five gardening benefits as listed on AARP’s member website.

  1. Exposure to Vitamin D: Vitamin D is crucial in boosting calcium levels, which in turn help to benefit your bones and immune system.  A 2014 study, published on the National Institutes of Health website, found that exposure to sunlight aided in helping older adults achieve adequate serum vitamin D levels.  Outdoor gardening and time spent outside watering your garden can help you reach these vitamin levels while pursuing a fun hobby.

  2. Decreased Dementia Risk:  A 2006 study discovered that gardening can help lower the risk of developing dementia by 36%.  Researchers tracked more that 2,800 people over the age of 60 for 16 years and found that physical activity, gardening in particular, could reduce the occurrence of dementia in future years.

  3. Mood-boosting Benefits:  A study completed in the Netherlands, cited by CNN, suggests that gardening fights stress even better than other hobbies.  Participants in the study completed a stressful task and then had to read inside or go outdoors and garden for a period of 30 minutes.  The group that went outside to garden reported being in a better mood afterwards and their blood tests showed lover levels of the stress hormone, cortisol.

  4. Enjoyable Aerobic Exercise:  Gardening is less of a task and more of a hobby, but it is also a great form of aerobic exercise.  The focus you hold while planting or maintaining a garden takes your mind off breaking a sweat.  Pulling weeds and reaching for plants and tools has you twisting and bending to work muscles in your body that you might not use every day.  These particular muscles have been shown to help increase strength, stamina, and flexibility.

  5. Helps Combat Loneliness:  When we retire, the opportunity to have social interactions can diminish.  But being a part of a community garden or garden planning committee can be a fun way to engage with others while providing a benefit to the community your in.  Here at Shaker Pointe our Garden Committee oversees the distribution of raised planer beds and the collaboration of neighbors during the planting, growing, and harvesting season.  The American Community Gardening Association recognizes that community gardening improves people’s quality of life by providing a catalyst for neighborhood and community development, stimulating social interaction, encouraging self-reliance, beautifying neighborhoods, producing nutritious food, conserving resources and creating opportunities for recreation, exercise, therapy, and education.

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