Benefits of Gardening

August 30, 2022 4:44 pm

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Whether it’s planting a few potted flowers or an expansive plot of land, one might say there are nearly as many benefits of gardening, as plants themselves. Let’s “dig in” and unearth some of the benefits:

Physical Benefits: Aerobic exercise. The pulling, digging, reaching, twisting, and bending of gardening amounts to light aerobic exercise, which improves heart and lung health, helps prevent obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, osteoporosis, some cancers, and more. Gardening is so engrossing, you don’t even notice your engaging in physical fitness until you are sore the next day.

Cognitive Benefits: Decreased risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s. A study tracking nearly 3,000 people over 60 revealed that gardening can lower the risk of dementia by 36 percent. Gardening stimulates the mind and keeps us in the present, requiring attention to detail, patterns, spacing, depth, division, and other factors. It is also a full-spectrum sensory experience, with vibrant colors to see, buzzing insects and water droplets to hear, aromatic plants and soil to smell, various textures to feel, and fruit, vegetables and even some flowers to taste.

Emotional benefits: Gardening has been found to increase levels of serotonin and dopamine – the happy hormones in the brain. It also lowers the stress hormone cortisol. One study, which had one group of participants read inside for half an hour and another go outside and garden, showed that the gardeners were in better spirits and had decreased cortisol levels.
Sense of purpose and accomplishment: There are immense rewards in planting and nurturing a garden. Watching tiny seeds break through the soil to display verdant greenery or colorful buds, plucking a juicy tomato from one’s own vine or witnessing the return of favorite perennials each year; these tiny miracles are tangibly satisfying.

Self-esteem: Life emerging because of a gardener’s good care is a confidence-booster, especially for seniors whose physical and mental capacities may be diminishing. It is a basic human need to be needed, and gardening fulfills this instinct ideally.

Social benefits: Gardening combats loneliness and isolation. Older adults are particularly vulnerable to seclusion and depression, as many of them live alone or have limited mobility and access to transportation and other people. Community gardens can bring the community together in a shared effort, thus fostering vital socialization and friendships based on a common interest. Conversations flow more naturally, as they are secondary to the focus on gardening.

Spiritual benefits: Closer to a higher power. Gardening gets people “out of their heads,” focused on something greater than themselves. Many feel closer to mother nature when they’re communing with nature in all its resplendent glory.

Massage and Gardening
If the end results of a beautiful flower garden or productive vegetable patch are anything to go by, gardening is a relaxing undertaking. A long day of gardening involves repetitive strain leading to sore muscles. Maintenance and prevention are the keys to maintaining a body that can handle the demands of gardening. Take a few moments to:

  • Stretch your muscles. If you have spent a few hours bent forward, bend backwards to lengthen the contracted muscles
  • A hot bath at the end of the day can soften muscles and prepare you for the next round of gardening.
  • Get a Massage to addresses those overworked muscles to prevent strain and pain from settling in.

Body & Soul Massage in Salem Ma offers Therapeutic Massage for pain relief. Ask about our Massage Membership plan to keep you ready for gardening season. 978-825-0040