Gardening is more than just a favorite pastime for countless people—it's also a great way to improve your health. Besides being great for your heart and brain, gardening also helps improve your mood, reduce stress, and strengthen your muscles. Keep reading to learn four amazing health benefits of gardening.
Gardening Can Reduce Risk of Heart Attack and Stroke
To improve your heart health, experts recommend getting at least 2.5 hours of moderate exercise every week, and gardening can be a fun and rewarding way to achieve that goal. In fact, one study conducted in Stockholm found that gardening regularly can reduce the risk of stroke and heart attack by 30% in people over age 60.
Gardening Helps Reduce Risk of Alzheimer's
Gardening isn't just good for your heart—it's also great for your brain. In a long-term study that followed 3,000 adults age 60 and older for 16 years, researchers discovered that daily gardening can reduce the risk of dementia by a whopping 36%. Scientists believe this is because gardening engages multiple areas of the brain, including those responsible for learning, problem solving, and sensory awareness.
Gardening Relieves Stress & Improves Mental Health
If you love to garden, it can be a great way to relieve stress. One Dutch study found that people who gardened for 30 minutes after completing a stressful activity had lower cortisol (stress hormone) levels than those who didn't garden after the same activity. As your stress levels decrease, your mental health improves – so much so that some doctors even recommend "horticultural therapy" for patients suffering from issues like anxiety and depression.
Gardening Improves Hand Strength and Dexterity
Regular gardening is a great way to keep your hand muscles strong and flexible without having to worry about completing tedious hand exercises prescribed by a physiotherapist. Researchers have also found that gardening can be an effective way for people to rebuild strength and dexterity after suffering a stroke. Just be careful not to overdo it. If your hands start to hurt while gardening, consider taking a break or alternating between your left and right hands (as an added bonus, gardening with your non-dominant hand is also a good exercise for your brain).
If you don't already have a garden of your own, these incredible health benefits should be all the motivation you need to start one. Your body will thank you!
Another great habit that can help keep you in good health is being aware of your health risks. Learn more about preventive health screenings from Life Line Screening.