The health benefits of gardening are as abundant as the garden’s yield. Gardening brings families and communities together, offers a good workout, and provides you with seasonal vegetables and fruits. A beautiful garden isn’t just something to be admired in glossy magazines. There are solid reasons to start a garden, including the health benefits of gardening — from physical activity (calorie burn!) to the fruits (and vegetables) of your labor. And there are emotional benefits, such as connecting with your kids when you garden as a family and the joy of watching a seed grow into a plant from your efforts. Here are some additional benefits to gardening:
- Be active: Light gardening burns about 330 calories an hour. Because gardening is a physical activity, increase your workload slowly to avoid aches and pains.
- Family/community bonding: According to a study published in the Journal of Community Health, when researchers followed 42 families involved in learning organic gardening techniques in a community garden, they found that in addition to the nutritional health benefits of gardening (participants reported eating more vegetables), families said they felt more united and bonded. The researchers theorized that time spent working together in the garden increased family unity.
- Discover new fruits and vegetables: In a 12-week pilot project involving fourth- and sixth-graders in gardening activities during a summer camp, researchers publishing in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found an increase in enjoyment of and willingness to try new fruits and vegetables.
- Relieve stress: A small study from Wageningen University and Research Center in The Netherlands comparing the stress-relieving impact of reading with that of gardening found that gardening had a physiologically soothing effect on 30 adult participants.