How Does Your Garden Grow? Surprising Ways Gardening Can Improve Your Life!

Whether you’re a lifelong gardener or someone who is just starting to play in the dirt, there’s good news. Gardening offers a huge range of health and wellness benefits. Let’s dig in—if you’ll forgive the pun—and discover all the ways gardening gives back.


Fresh Food

Okay, this might be a no-brainer, but even a small raised bed or patio garden can provide a bounty of fresh produce throughout the growing season. Tomato plants are relatively easy to grow, as are many fresh herbs such as rosemary and basil. You can plant potatoes in a trashcan, believe it or not, and grow a wide variety of peppers in a small amount of space, too.

Better Moods

Researchers in the Netherlands discovered that gardening is a stress-fighting powerhouse hobby! The study measured both the participants’ reported moods and their blood cortisol level—a hormone linked to stress. After completing a stressful task, the group that was then told to do 30 minutes of gardening was in better shape than the control group. It turns out that connecting with nature and nurturing living things is just plain good for you.

Lower Dementia Risk

Another study found that gardening can lower your risk for developing dementia by more than a third. The study followed almost 3000 people over the age of 60 for 16 years, and those who exercised regularly in their gardens were 36% less likely to develop dementia.

Easy Exercise

While we all know that exercise is important, it can be tough to find the form of physical activity that’s right for you. Some people enjoy walking on a treadmill, for example, while others can’t stand the idea of walking without getting anywhere. With gardening, you get a decent amount of aerobic exercise as you stand, squat, and reach. Plus, if you pick up bags of potting soil or flowerpots, you’ll get a bit of strength training, too. Exercising in the garden is more rewarding than going to the gym, since you’ll be able to enjoy your flowers, vegetables, and other plants when you’re done for the day, too!

Vitamin D Boost

Vitamin D is an essential nutrient for human beings to thrive, but there’s a catch. We need regular exposure to sunlight in order to properly produce it! Vitamin D is especially important for older adults because it helps you absorb and access calcium. Soak up some rays outdoors while you garden, but don’t forget to wear sunscreen (to block UV radiation), a hat, and sunglasses.

Grow a Community

As you get older, it’s harder to make friends and stay connected to people. But abundant research has shown that a healthy social network is key to a longer, happier life. Gardening clubs provide plenty of opportunity to meet new friends. Plus, if you have produce and flowers in hand, you’re sure to be popular around the neighborhood! If you don’t have a green space at home—or if you just want a more social experience—look for a community garden in your area.