Spring Survey Results – The Immense Health Benefits of Gardening

By Lisa Shanken | Healthy Living

The results are in! Thank you so much for participating in the Tri-Wellness Spring Survey. One of the most overwhelming responses was a desire to incorporate gardening into your lives. Since this is also something close to my heart (above photos are from my very own garden, just getting started this season), I wanted to focus on all the health benefits of gardening, of which there are many!

Gardening is good for both your mental and physical health in several ways. Below are 8 proven health benefits of gardening as well as some resources on how to get started if you are a novice gardener!

  1. Gardening exposes you to sunlight, which is how your body naturally creates vitamin D. Vitamin D increases your calcium levels, which in turn helps maintain strong bones and a strong immune system.
  2. Gardening leads to a healthier diet because you can eat all the vegetables you grow! This also can be a big motivator for eating more of your own cooking compared to restaurant food (often higher in salt, trans fat, and sugar). According to the CDC, gardening and eating your homegrown healthy veggies is one of the best preventative measures to avoid the top 4 causes of deaths in the US: obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
  3. Gardening is great for your pocket book. This is especially true during this time of inflation and significantly increased prices at the grocery store! According to the National Gardening Association, the ROI is $8 back for every $1 invested in your garden.
  4. Gardening helps the environment by adding more plants that provide oxygen to our air as well as decreasing your carbon footprint by eating off of your own land.
  5. Gardening is proven to make you feel happier. A study in the Netherlands found that gardening for 30 minutes led to a decrease in cortisol levels in the blood, therefore lowering stress and boosting mood. A Norwegian study found that 50% of people struggling with persistent depression experienced a significant increase in mood after gardening 6 hours per week over a 3 month period.
  6. Gardening is great exercise! Pulling weeds, digging dirt, twisting, and reaching all helps you use muscles you may not normally access. It helps increase flexibility and stamina.
  7. Gardening is rewarding and helps young picky eaters expand their pallets. When kids can see food grow from start to finish by way of their own efforts, they are more inclined to try these new foods compared to buying them at the grocery store.
  8. A 2006 study tracked 28,000 people over 60 years old and found that daily gardening led to a 36% decreased risk of dementia.

If you are new to gardening and not sure where to start, I recommend checking out a few of the below resources.

  1. The most helpful resource I have found has been through Colorado State University’s Master Gardening Program. Master Gardeners are on hand to answer all of your questions, and they are extremely knowledgeable and resourceful.
  2. Of course there are tons of resources online and videos on YouTube as well that are helpful. I like this site, which starts with creating a garden plan, and then walks you through all of the steps.

Every year I learn more and more as I experiment with planting new things and building on the tips I learned from the previous season. Please don’t hesitate to reach out with questions, photos, and gardening successes!