Home gardening is an enjoyable spring pastime, one that gives us more than beautiful flowers and fresh herbs and veggies. The hobby also provides us with surprising health benefits—here are just 5.

  1. Helps You Stay Fit. If you’re an avid green thumb, you know gardening is a great form of exercise. Pulling weeds and twisting and bending as you plant helps work your muscles to build strength, stamina and flexibility.
  2. Relieves Stress. Research has shown that being outside helps reduce feelings of stress, depression and anxiety. In one study, participants reported better moods after gardening for just 30 minutes, and their blood tests showed lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
  3. Boosts Immunity. Taking in the sunshine as you garden also means taking in vitamin D, which increases calcium levels. Calcium provides benefits to your bones and immune system. Additionally, beneficial bacteria found in soil can help you get sick less and fight off infections easier.
  4. Helps Prevent Disease. The impact of gardening on our quality of life can be substantial: Research shows that gardening can cut the risk of a heart attack or stroke and prolong life by 30%. A daily dose of digging may even lower the risk of dementia by 36%.
  5. Eases Chronic Pain. Most gardening is considered moderate physical activity, which may be ideal for those with chronic pain or arthritis. It’s important to stay active, within reason, to relieve stiffness in joints and muscles and reduce swelling and soreness.

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