Four Health Benefits of Gardening

It’s been a spring like no other, hasn’t it? I hope you and yours are healthy, safe, and enduring the challenges brought about by COVID-19.  Since health and well-being are more critical than ever right now, let’s take a look at four important physical and psychological benefits of gardening.

Increase the “Happy Chemical.” Fresh air and sunlight (with proper protection) increase serotonin levels in the brain, which researchers believe decreases anxiety and depression and contributes to a general sense of well-being.  No wonder serotonin has earned the happy chemical nickname.

Feel the (moderate) Burn.  Whether you work out religiously or need encouragement to get to the gym, gardening tasks can increase mobility, muscle tone, and stamina. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) a 150 pound person burns 378 calories during an hour of general gardening.  Digging, planting, and spading involves upper body, back, and leg muscles; weeding entails lots of lunges and squats; raking uses upper body muscles and done vigorously, you will get a good aerobic workout.

Fresh is Best. Growing your own fruits and vegetables is an excellent way to increase access to healthy foods, teach children about nutrition, explore new food options, and reduce the intake of herbicides and pesticides.  

Life-long Learning. I’ve been a Colorado Master Gardener for several years and am always humbled by how much I don’t know – and grateful for the opportunities to continue to learn. Seeking new information and being curious keeps our brains working at optimum levels. If you want to learn more about gardening, check out Colorado State University Extension Gardening Webinars – new, no cost and open to all.

Stay well and enjoy playing in the dirt.

For more information:

Gardening is beneficial for health: A meta-analysis. Preventive Medicine Reports, March 2017.

The Research is In: Yes, Gardening Totally Counts as Exercise

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

Written by Linda McDonnell, a Denver County Master Gardener

2 responses to “Four Health Benefits of Gardening

  1. Mind, body, and spirit support and validation during current events that can be realized in your own home space is uplifting.