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The health benefits of gardening go beyond reaping a harvest of vegetables and fruits. Pulling weeds, raking, reaching for various plants and tools, and twisting and bending as you plant all work the muscles in your body and build strength, stamina, and flexibility. Gardening can also help you grow in these ways.

  1. Increase exposure to vitamin D. Outdoor activities like gardening are great ways to catch some rays while pursuing a hobby.
  2. Reduce dementia risk. One study tracking 2,805 seniors age 60 and up concluded that physical activity, including gardening, could lower the risk of dementia later in life.
  3. Boost mood. A raft of research shows that exposure to gardens and other natural areas is associated with less depression, anxiety, and stress.
  4. Improve self-esteem. In one study, community gardeners in London reported feelings of higher self-esteem than a nongardener control group. Nurtur­ing and harvesting plants is a great way to accomplish tasks and achieve successes that can build resilience outside the garden.
  5. Build community. ­Gardens — especially community gardens — strengthen neighbor­hoods by increasing social connection, reciprocity, trust, and ­civic ­engagement.
  6. Connect with nature. Nurturing plants offers a unique way to create a special bond with the environment that can make you feel part of something bigger than yourself.

This was excerpted from “The Gardener’s Workout: 7 Functional Moves to Prevent Injury” which was published in the March 2023 issue of Experience Life.

Heidi Wachter

Heidi Wachter is an Experience Life contributing editor.

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