Did you know that gardening can lower your risk of dementia by over a third?
Researchers in New South Wales, Australia, pursued 2,800 senior citizens for 16 years and discovered that those who actively participated in gardening had much lower rates of dementia.
Being outside in the fresh air, having fun in the soil, and taking in the sights, sounds, and scents of a lovely garden can all help to reduce stress and lift your mood. That is before you even consider what you end up producing in terms of flowers, fruits, vegetables, and herbs.
Do you need further convincing as to the benefits of gardening before you head off and order a new watering can and lawn mower parts? Read on to find out more.
#1 It gets you moving
Gardening could actually be classed as moderate-intensity exercise, along with jogging, mountain biking, and lap swimming, and can be just as fun, if not more so. It doesn’t feel like exercise either! Just half an hour can provide the benefits that you need from exercise. Just make sure that you cover up and use a natural sunscreen if you are out in the sun and don’t overdo it.
#2 Dirt builds up your immune system
Mycobacterium vaccae is a bacterium found in soil. This is one of the good bacteria, the kind that benefits rather than harms our health. Mycobacterium vaccae has been shown in studies to alleviate the symptoms of a variety of illnesses and conditions such as psoriasis, asthma and allergies. Another way gardening benefits your immune system is through the Vitamin D that your body naturally produces when exposed to sunlight.
#3 It gives you a great mood boost
Being outside in nature, experiencing everything that it has to offer is a massive mood boost. Try it yourself; when you are feeling glum and gloomy, go and spend some time looking at the flowers and watching the comings and goings of the birds and the bees and other wildlife.
Even NASA researchers have discovered that tending to plants can adequately handle an individual's negative feelings, such as stress, isolation, and loneliness. While being outside in the fresh air can certainly improve one's mood, the mental health benefits also apply when planting seeds in small indoor pots.
Other research findings have investigated the effects of gardening on cortisol levels in the body. Cortisol is commonly known as the "stress hormone." You feel calmer when your levels are lower. Cortisol levels that are lower have also been linked to a lower risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, insomnia, and depression.
#4 It can help improve self-confidence
Turning to nature, nurturing something, and watching it grow appears to be nearly fundamental to human well-being. This connection to the natural world also improves people's self-esteem and confidence. After all, what could be more ego-boosting than taking a small, inexplicably inactive seed and planting, watering, and monitoring it until it bears fruit? There is a huge sense of self-worth, pride and purpose.