How Gardening Benefits Your Health

healthy new year resolution2016 is right around the bend, and, if you’re like many people, you’ll make some New Year’s resolutions.

Earlier this year, Nielsen released its data on the most commonly made resolutions for 2015.

According to their research, the most popular promises its respondents made to themselves were: to stay fit and healthy; lose weight; enjoy life to the fullest; spend less, save more; and learn something new or take up a new hobby.

But what does that have to do with gardening?

Multiple studies have confirmed that gardening holds many health benefits.

And, not only that, but many of those benefits are directly related to fulfilling some of those most popular resolutions that will likely be made very soon.

Here are just a few ways gardening can boost your health—and help you keep your New Year’s resolutions—in 2016:

  • Exercise: Getting in a good workout is something most people would agree they need. But it takes discipline to get to the gym or to run that extra mile. Gardening, however, can be much less strenuous and closer to home. Plus, the low-impact stretching it requires makes it accessible for many, even those with disabilities or chronic pain. The fact that it’s also a goal-oriented task makes it more likely that people will stick to it.
  • Better Diet: People often have the best of intentions when it comes to eating well. But when schedules get busy, it’s easy to fall into the fast-food trap. Tending to a garden of your own more often than not translates into a healthier diet. Homegrown fruits, veggies and herbs are the freshest foods you can eat—not to mention they can help save on the grocery bill. Studies have also shown that gardeners eat healthier food than their peers.
  • Stress Relief: Wanting to get more joy out of life is a common wish, but more responsibilities and more technological devices often demand more attention. And if that isn’t managed well—or if a much-needed break isn’t taken from time to time—it can result in more stress. Gardening helps direct one’s focus with its soothing, repetitive tasks, and research has proven that can help reduce levels of cortisol, the stress hormone.
  • Stimulate Mood: Gardening’s ability to force one’s attention on the task at hand could do more than help relieve stress. Studies have shown that reconnecting with the soil—and getting in touch, literally—with the friendly bacteria there can alleviate depression. These bacteria, Mycobacterium vaccae, help increase the release of serotonin to the parts of the brain that control cognitive function and mood.
  • Fight Disease: That mental and physical activity gardening provides may also help fight disease, such as dementia and Alzheimer’s. Scientists are hesitant to make a definitive claim, but two different studies showed that those who gardened compared to those who didn’t experienced up to an almost 50% reduced risk of dementia than those who didn’t. Another study pointed to lower risks of heart disease and stroke for those over 60.

To enjoy these and other benefits, now is a great time to consider taking up gardening. Even starting small with container or herb gardening can be a nice introduction to the field—or become the foundation to transition into something bigger.

Gothic Arch Greenhouses has the greenhouse supplies to get you started, whether you’re a beginning gardener or an accomplished grower. Visit www.GothicArchGreenhouses or call us toll-free at 1-800-531-4769 with any questions you may have. We wish you a new year blooming with happiness!