Monday, June 15, 2009

Health benefits of gardening: stop and PLANT the roses

Gardeners know they feel better in the garden, and now science quantifies the good being done by the green scene. That's right, you can go ahead and buy that plant – it's science!
The list of benefits from just looking at trees and vegetation include:

  • lower blood pressure and decreased muscle tension

  • improved mood

  • better quality sleep

  • better concentration

  • improved self-discipline and ability to do well in school.

Plus, good residential landscaping can discourage crime and strengthen communities, and adding trees near a home can reduce domestic violence. Walking in a park for 20 minutes renews and replenishes some brain functions, improving memory and concentration, even for ADHD kids.

Working in the garden has benefits too. If you pace yourself to avoid overexertion, yard work can help you reach the moderate activity level recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, no gym membership required. Gardening increases bone density and grip strength, along with overall physical health and self esteem.

If you can't get outside, you can still benefit from being around plants. Bamboo, dracaena, golden pothos, peace lily, English ivy, spider plant, Boston fern and philodendron grown indoors reduce indoor air pollution and improve creativity and productivity in the workplace. Plants in the workplace also reduce the number of sick days.

Assisted–living facility residents found improved quality of life, and better health and happiness (self-rated) after indoor gardening classes. Flowering and foliage plants reduced blood pressure, heart rate, pain, anxiety, and fatigue in patients recovering from appendectomies.

I'm not just making this stuff up! Most of what I have quoted here is the result of research done by the American Society for Horticultural Science, as reported in the journal HortTechnology. It's science! So get out in the garden, guilt-free. When you're in the garden, life is good!

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad to hear that science confirms what I've known for 30 years - there is something both soothing and joyful about tending your own garden. Not everyone feels this way, of course (my husband thinks it's cra-a-azy that I enjoy the hard labor), but we who love it are a special group of nurturing people!