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The Research-Backed Benefits of Gardening

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The Research-Backed Benefits of Gardening
By Little Fields Farm 5 months ago 2467 Views

Numerous studies show that there is significant evidence to back the idea of the health benefits of gardening. Gardening has proven to have a wide variety of health advantages which range from fighting anxiety/depression to dealing with heart diseases and obesity. It also helps in alleviating the symptoms of dementia as well as being a source of joy and fulfilment. Sarah Waller of the Association for Dementia Studies, University of Worcester believes that gardening can be very beneficial to us in troublesome times and suggested that patients should have access to therapeutic garden spaces as much as possible.

Here are few of the noteworthy health benefits of gardening:

Depression/Anxiety

Gardening is not just a source of fresh green life; it also relieves stress, keeps you active, and lifts your mood. Depression and anxiety are a major growing health concern, especially in urban settings due to increased stress to maintain a work and home balance. However, studies suggest that gardening can have a lasting effect on mental health and helps release happy hormones.

Working in a garden has proven to increase the levels of serotonin and dopamine which are the hormones that make us feel good. Moreover, it also decreases the level of Cortisol, which is the body’s main stress hormone. A Norway research report “Therapeutic horticulture in clinical depression: a prospective study of active components” by M.T. Gonzalez, T. Hartig, G.G. Patil, E.W. Martinsen, and M. Kirkevold suggested that gardening helps to improve the symptoms of depression, cognitive function, and brooding.

Physical Health

Anyone working in a garden can describe how spading and cultivating, weeding, sowing, and planting can require a fair bit of physical strength. Therefore, gardening can be a great source of low impact daily workouts for people and patients that cannot endure high impact strength training or exercise.

Obesity and Cardiovascular Diseases

Reports have shown that simple routine activities like gardening that require a sufficient amount of physical work lower the risk of obesity and cardiovascular diseases. Furthermore, it’s not only the physical work of gardening that fights obesity and heart diseases; growing more vegetables and fruits for home or community gardens promotes a more healthy diet over fast food, which in turn reduces the risk of obesity and cardiovascular diseases.

A USA research report “Harvesting more than vegetables: the potential weight control benefits of community gardening” by C.D. Zick, K.R. Smith, L. Kowaleski-Jones, C. Uno, B.J. Merrill presented its findings after conducting a study on men and women that partook in community gardening. The study found that the participants who took part in community gardening had a BMI that was significantly lower than those in the community that did not partake in the community gardening. The study also suggested that the people who took part in the gardening had a lower risk of obesity as compared to their neighbors.

Various findings from different research reports suggest that gardening is not just a leisure time activity but can be a major factor for people when it comes to maintaining good health. Encounters with nature, especially in urban life, can help a great deal in attaining a healthy society.