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Why Gardening Offers Mental & Physical Health Benefits

From lowering stress levels to improving heart health and cognitive functions, find out ALL of the ways gardening is healing for your mind and body.

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It’s that time of year when people are spending more time in their gardens. Certainly, gardening can help keep your landscape looking nice while also enabling you to grow the produce of your choice. But there are other benefits of gardening as well. It’s also good for your physical and mental health!

Health Benefits of Gardening: 6 Ways Gardening Can Positively Impact Your Health

Gardening offers both mental and physical health benefits, some of which include:

1. Lower levels of stress

Stress negatively impacts all of your body’s systems and can lead to chronic pain, breathing issues, high blood pressure, heart attack, and more. (1) Gardening helps reduce stress levels. For instance, in a study involving veterans in substance abuse treatment, those who engaged in gardening activities reported that they felt “calm,” “serene,” and even “refreshed” both during and after their time in the garden. (2)

2. Increased self-esteem

While you may not associate gardening with self-esteem, research suggests that there is a connection between the two. (3) Furthermore, this benefit can be received from actively gardening or just spending time in a garden (passive gardening).

And garden size doesn’t appear to matter either as people enjoy higher levels of self-esteem whether their garden consists of a few potted plants on their apartment balcony, a courtyard with planter blocks, or a large plot of land behind their home.

3. Greater resilience

When you are resilient, you can better withstand and recover from challenging times. What helps improve your resilience? Gardening.

It’s thought to provide this benefit by reducing your mental fatigue and helping you better cope with psychological stress, both of which improve your ability to get through and bounce back from tough situations you may face. (4)

4. Improved heart health

Gardening can help improve heart health.

Studies have found that just viewing plants can reduce your blood pressure and lower your pulse rate. (5) This is important because the number one cause of death in the U.S. is heart disease. (6) So, finding ways to improve heart health can help reduce this public health issue—and potentially help you avoid a heart attack or stroke.

5. Better recovery from surgery

If you have a surgical procedure coming up, research suggests that simply being in a natural environment such as a garden can provide several benefits. Among them are reducing the amount of drugs you need to ease the pain while also decreasing your anxiety related to the procedure, lowering your risk of post-surgical complications, and decreasing the length of your hospital stay. (5)

6. Higher vitamin D levels

Vitamin D is important for bone, nerve, and muscle health. One way to increase your vitamin D levels is to spend time in the sun. (7)

Because spending too much time in the sun can raise your risk of skin cancer, limiting your exposure to 15 minutes or less per day is recommended. If you’re gardening for longer, cover up and wear sunscreen.

What Does Gardening Do to the Brain?

Gardening has a positive impact on brain health.

Interestingly, gardening can also improve cognitive functions due to its impact on the brain. One study found that, after engaging in gardening activities such as planting, raking, and watering plants, participants had significantly increased brain nerve growth. This can help improve brain function while also improving memory. (8)

Why Gardening Is Healing

If you’ve ever spent time gardening, you may notice that you feel better mentally after engaging in this activity. But why is gardening healing?

The answer lies in many of the health benefits associated with this activity, including reduced stress, greater well-being, and higher levels of hopefulness, along with relief from some health symptoms.

Plus, spending time in nature is a good distraction from what is bothering you while also offering psychological comfort. (9)

Is Gardening Good for the Immune System?

Yes! Gardening is great for the immune system. Research has found that engaging in gardening can reduce the inflammatory markers in the blood and decrease oxidative stress. (10) Both of these effects go a long way in boosting immunity. Vitamin D also plays a role in immune system function, so gardening in the sun also enhances this effect.

If you’re looking for a supplement to help increase your vitamin D levels, Natural Wellness offers Vitamin D3 + K2. Taking vitamin K with vitamin D can help improve bone tissue metabolism, reducing your risk of bone breaks and fractures. (11)

Gardening outside can help increase your vitamin D levels.

(1) American Psychological Association. (2018, November 1). Stress Effects on the Body. Retrieved May 26, 2023, from

(2) Lehmann, L., Detweiler, J., Detweiler, M. (2018, February). Veterans in Substance Abuse Treatment Programs Self-Initiate Box Gardening as a Stress Reducing Therapeutic Modality. Complementary Therapies in Medicine. doi:10.1016/j.ctim.2017.10.013

(3) Scott, T., Masser, B., Pachana, N. (2020, January 22). Positive Aging Benefits of Home and Community Gardening Activities: Older Adults Report Enhanced Self-Esteem, Productive Endeavours, Social Engagement and Exercise. SAGE Open Medicine. doi:10.1177/2050312120901732

(4) Koay, W., Dillon, D. (2020, September 16). Community Gardening: Stress, Well-Being, and Resilience Potentials. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. doi:10.3390/ijerph17186740

(5) Thompson, R. (2018, June). Gardening for Health: A Regular Dose of Gardening. Clinical Medicine (London). doi:10.7861/clinmedicine.18-3-201

(6) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2023, April 14). Heart Disease. Retrieved May 26, 2023, from

(7) National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements. (2022, November 08). Vitamin D: Fact Sheet for Consumers. Retrieved May 26, 2023, from

(8) Park, S., Lee, A., Park, H., Lee, W. (2019, March). Benefits of Gardening Activities for Cognitive Function According to Measurement of Brain Nerve Growth Factor Levels. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. doi:10.3390/ijerph16050760

(9) University of Minnesota, Earl E. Bakken Center for Spirituality & Healing. (n.d.). What are Healing Gardens? Retrieved May 26, 2023, from

(10) Park, S., Lee, A., Park, H, et al. (2017, January). Gardening Intervention as a Low- to Moderate-Intensity Physical Activity for Improving Blood Lipid Profiles, Blood Pressure, Inflammation, and Oxidative Stress in Women Over the Age of 70: A Pilot Study. HortScience. doi:10.21273/HORTSCI11232-16

(11) Malyugina, O., Markov, A. (2020). The Practicability of the Application of Vitamin D in Combination with Vitamin C for the Improvement of Bone Tissue Metabolism. Systematic Reviews in Pharmacy. doi:10.31838/srp.2020.6.70

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