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4 Surprising Health Benefits of Gardening

You may garden just for fun, but you’re also protecting your mental and physical health, too!

Research has shown an improvement in mental and physical health because of gardening. Don’t have a big backyard? You only need a window box, a few houseplants, or some outdoor pots to enjoy the benefits of gardening.

#1: Improve your satisfaction with life

It’s hard not to enjoy life when you’re surrounded by plants—and there’s studies that back up that enjoyment! “Research has shown that gardeners generally have greater life satisfactionenhanced self-esteem and fewer feelings of depression and fatigue than non-gardeners.” Source: theconversation.com

#2: Lower your osteoporosis risk

It’s probably no surprise that gardening, and all the physical activity that goes along with it, leads to better overall health. But that physical activity can improve your bones as well! In a study of 3,310 women over 65, researchers from the University of Arkansas found that women involved in yard work and other types of gardening exercises had lower rates of osteoporosis than joggers, swimmers, and women who did aerobics.

If you’ve lifted a bag of soil you know why! Gardening is like full-body weight training. The study’s authors noted; ‘you have to pull weeds, dig holes, carry heavy loads of soil and compost, and do other forms of weight-bearing activities that ward off osteoporosis’.

#3: Lower your diabetes risk

One of the primary components of managing diabetes is getting enough exercise. Active gardeners easily get more than the recommended 150 minutes per week of exercise, and those who garden just for fun get just slightly less than that, according to research from Kansas State University.

Also, if you grow food in your garden, you have another diabetes-management tool at your disposal: fresh produce. “Millions of high-risk people can delay or avoid developing type 2 diabetes by losing weight through regular physical activity and a diet low in fat and calories.” Source: slowfoodusa.org

#4: Better sleep

Physical exercise and exposure to natural light help regulate our circadian rhythm which helps us fall asleep. Gardening is a good full-body workout that exposes us to natural light which helps counteract the negative affects that indoor light cause on our sleep schedules. “So if you’re struggling to sleep at night, go outside during the day, plant some seeds, prune something, dig the borders, enjoy the fresh air and the sunshine, and reap the rewards of a good night’s sleep.” Source: University of Oxford Blog

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