Garden-Reduced Stress Compares to Reading

by Ken Lain, The Mountain Gardener, Watters Garden Center

Nature has long been known for its relaxing qualities as a place for humans to find tranquility, healing and rest. Mental clarity and the feeling of reward are all associated with gardening, with the many physical benefits that follow.

Fruit tree, herb and vegetable gardening are particularly gratifying and an excellent source of super fresh food right out of the garden. From soil preparation to the joy of harvesting, there is always a task during the growing season!

But just how beneficial to your health is this age-old agricultural tradition?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers gardening one of its moderate-intensity activities.

 According to the CDC, moderate-intensity activities for 2.5 hours each week can reduce the risk for obesity, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, heart disease, stroke, depression, colon cancer, even premature death. 

Those who choose gardening as their moderate exercise are more likely to exercise 40-50 minutes longer on average than those who like walking or biking.

Another example of the health benefits of gardens: “A 10% increase in nearby green space was found to decrease a person’s health complaints in an amount equivalent to a five-year reduction in that person’s age,” according to the Gardening Matters nonprofit of Minneapolis.

Exercising both the arms and legs is recommended to help prevent illnesses like coronary disease. Gardening is a great way to incorporate the entire body while exercising.

According to the journal Biological Psychiatry, experts found fresh air helps prevent Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and results in higher test scores among students. Who doesn’t like fresh air?

Gardening has emerged recently as a scientifically proven stress reliever. Stress causes irritability, headaches, stomach aches, heart attacks and worsens pre-existing conditions in the body. An experiment published in the Journal of Health Psychology compared gardening to the stress relief activity of someone reading. Subjects that gardened experienced a more significant decrease in stress when compared to the subjects who were assigned to read.

Visit us here at Watters Garden Center for your dose of garden therapy.