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The Physical, Cognitive and Therapeutic Benefits of Gardening

Many of us are aware of the well-known benefits of home gardening: increased self-sufficiency, healthy, unprocessed food for your family, improved curb appeal for your home or a perfectly relaxing environment where you can enjoy the aromas and colors of all the gorgeous flowers you grew. Yes, these are some of our favorite perks, but there are several lesser-known but significant benefits to gardening and they all have to do with your overall health and wellbeing.

Two Men Gardening Outdoors, One Man Teaching the Other Something

According to Dr. Robert Hutchins1, when you are out working and tilling in your garden you are actually doing your heart some good. You end up strengthening your cardiovascular health from all that digging and weeding! The labor involved in this work is burning calories too, of course. So, although gardening may not be a gym-intensive workout, it’s good to know that you're getting the bonus benefit of exercise from your enjoyment of gardening!

During the time you are outside pulling weeds, sowing seeds or transplanting your seedlings, you are also giving your body a healthy dose of good ol’ vitamin D. Of course, don’t forget to wear sunscreen — but a reasonable amount of sun exposure will do your body some good. It’s been shown that vitamin D may decrease the likelihood of conditions like high blood pressure as well as diseases such as diabetes and depression.2

Gardener outside in the sun.

"Gardening gives your body a healthy dose of good ol' vitamin D."

Gardener outside in the sun.

"Gardening gives your body
   a healthy dose of good ol' vitamin D."

While the physical benefits of gardening are great, it’s the emotional and mental benefits of gardening that are just plain wonderful. Seth Gillihan, a licensed psychologist and specialist in cognitive behavioral therapy, covered the top mental health benefits of gardening in his article on Psychology Today.3 Number one on that list involves Practicing Acceptance.

In practicing acceptance, you can reduce stress and anxiety in your life through coming to terms with the fact that there are things out of your control. Gillihan mentions that the more you are willing to accept the limits of your control, the more peace of mind you can achieve. Even the most seasoned gardeners will tell you that there are aspects to gardening stemming beyond your control. Oftentimes, either during or at the conclusion of a season, gardeners will jot down the difficulties they faced and the steps they can take in an effort to prevent these obstacles in the future.

A recent study suggests that gardening also has the ability to increase brain function.4 In their study, a group of Korean scientists discovered evidence of brain nerve growth in seniors aged 76 and older after they had produced their own vegetable gardens. It’s no secret that gardening is full of life-long experimenting and lesson-learning and therefore it comes as no surprise that keeping such a stimulating hobby will continue to improve your cognitive health!

Finally, gardening may be a great way to boost self-esteem, especially for children and young adults. In an article from Hillside on the Psychological Benefits of Plants and Gardening, the author discusses how gardening is the perfect excuse to break away from a world of unachievable social media standards and become more in-tune with the outside world.5 Gardening will also allow children and young adults to experience transformations that are similar to their own, all while taking in some fresh air. Put down those phones and head outside!

Teenager Gardening

Finally, gardening may be a great way to boost self-esteem, especially for children and young adults. In an article from Hillside on the Psychological Benefits of Plants and Gardening, the author discusses how gardening is the perfect excuse to break away from a world of unachievable social media standards and become more in-tune with the outside world.5 Gardening will also allow children and young adults to experience transformations that are similar to their own, all while taking in some fresh air. Put down those phones and head outside!

These are only some of the physical, emotional and cognitive benefits of gardening — there are plenty more. Gardening can also create a welcoming sense of community and shared knowledge; it can benefit our ecosystems and improve our living spaces. With the endless list of benefits to gardening, it is hard to find a reason why you shouldn’t take it up yourself. So, what are you waiting for?

Garden with us today, we’d love you to join the Ferry-Morse family.

Teen Gardening

These are only some of the physical, emotional and cognitive benefits of gardening — there are plenty more. Gardening can also create a welcoming sense of community and shared knowledge; it can benefit our ecosystems and improve our living spaces. With the endless list of benefits to gardening, it is hard to find a reason why you shouldn’t take it up yourself. So, what are you waiting for?

Garden with us today, we’d love you to join the Ferry-Morse family.

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1. UNC Health Talk, “8 Surprising Health Benefits of Gardening” by Robert Hutchins, MD, MPH https://healthtalk.unchealthcare.org/health-benefits-of-gardening/

2. Get Healthy Stay Healthy, “Gardening: A Fun Way to Get Healthy” by Pfizer Medical Team https://www.gethealthystayhealthy.com/articles/gardening-a-fun-way-to-get-healthy

3. Psychology Today, “10 Mental Health Benefits of Gardening” by Seth J. Gillihan Ph.D. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/think-act-be/201906/10-mental-health-benefits-gardening

4. MDPI, “Benefits of Gardening Activities for Cognitive Function According to Measurement of Brain Nerve Growth Factor Levels” by Sin-Ae Park, A-Young Lee, Hee-Geun Park, Wang-Lok Lee https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/16/5/760

5. Hillisde, “How Plants Improve Your Mental and Physical Health” https://hside.org/plants-improve-mental-physical-health/  

1. UNC Health Talk, “8 Surprising Health Benefits of Gardening” by Robert Hutchins, MD, MPH https://healthtalk.unchealthcare.org/health-benefits-of-gardening/

2. Get Healthy Stay Healthy, “Gardening: A Fun Way to Get Healthy” by Pfizer Medical Team https://www.gethealthystayhealthy.com/articles/gardening-a-fun-way-to-get-healthy

3. Psychology Today, “10 Mental Health Benefits of Gardening” by Seth J. Gillihan Ph.D. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/think-act-be/201906/10-mental-health-benefits-gardening

4. MDPI, “Benefits of Gardening Activities for Cognitive Function According to Measurement of Brain Nerve Growth Factor Levels” by Sin-Ae Park, A-Young Lee, Hee-Geun Park, Wang-Lok Lee https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/16/5/760

5. Hillisde, “How Plants Improve Your Mental and Physical Health” https://hside.org/plants-improve-mental-physical-health/  

1. UNC Health Talk, “8 Surprising Health Benefits of Gardening” by Robert Hutchins, MD, MPH https://healthtalk.unchealthcare.org/health-benefits-of-gardening/

2. Get Healthy Stay Healthy, “Gardening: A Fun Way to Get Healthy” by Pfizer Medical Team https://www.gethealthystayhealthy.com/articles/gardening-a-fun-way-to-get-healthy

3. Psychology Today, “10 Mental Health Benefits of Gardening” by Seth J. Gillihan Ph.D. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/think-act-be/201906/10-mental-health-benefits-gardening

4. MDPI, “Benefits of Gardening Activities for Cognitive Function According to Measurement of Brain Nerve Growth Factor Levels” by Sin-Ae Park, A-Young Lee, Hee-Geun Park, Wang-Lok Lee https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/16/5/760

5. Hillisde, “How Plants Improve Your Mental and Physical Health” https://hside.org/plants-improve-mental-physical-health/  

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