Garden for the Health of It

For many people, the act of gardening satisfies needs beyond appreciating, harvesting, and even enjoying the fruits of one's own labor.  The fresh air and physical exertion involved in garden care allows people to improve physiological health; for instance, cardiovascular endurance, muscle tone, coordination and balance, as well as reduce stress and improve confidence and focus, while pursuing a constructive outcome that results in nutrient-dense crops, an attractive landscape or an improved environment.



Gardening IS Exercise

Gardening tasks recruit all the major muscle groups: legs, buttocks, arms, shoulders, neck, back and abdominals.  In addition to the exertion involved, gardening has other pluses that make it a fabulous way to burn calories. There can be a great deal of stretching involved with gardening, like reaching for weeds or tall branches, bending to plant and extending a rake. Lifting bags of mulch, pushing wheelbarrows and shoveling all provide resistance training similar to weight lifting, which leads to healthier bones and joints. 


Nutritional Benefits of Gardening

Garden vegetables, fruits, and herbs offer a diverse nutritional profile including vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that benefit health.  Organic home grown edibles are generally low in calories, promote weight loss and should be a fundamental part of a healthy eating plan.  In fact, the U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends consuming approximately nine to 13 servings of fruits and vegetables per day.  Despite an increased attention on dietary health, vegetables, fruit, and herbs still suffer from their inability to advertise; it is important for gardeners to teach others!  Folks who learn to grow and eat organic fresh vegetables are motivated to cook more at home and eat less fast food.  They will eat more produce not exposed to chemicals and use herbs in recipes resulting in less salt and refined sugar intake.



Stress Relieving Benefits of Gardening

Stress is a part of everyday life, and more and more people are searching for ways to reduce daily tension.  There are many ways to manage stress—such as relaxation, exercise, meditation, and enjoying creative hobbies.  Garden therapy, or horticultural therapy, is a fantastic combination of all of these stress management tactics. 

Keep in mind that you don't have to have a large space to enjoy the health benefits of gardening.  Start out small and get growing this spring!



Learn more about Stacy Walters, RKT at


More articles by Stacy


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