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Summer is here, so get outside and start getting all the benefits from working in the garden!  Not only will you have beautiful flowers, delicious vegetables, but you will be doing your body and mind some good!

Gardening is good for self – esteem

In a recent study, researchers found that the group who was asked to garden for 30 minutes as opposed to reading indoors were reported to have better moods than the reading group.  The gardening group also was found to have a much lower lever of cortisol which is known as the “stress hormone”.  Studies have shown that elevated cortisol levels over time have been linked to problems with immune function, obesity,  problems with memory and learning and heart disease.  Some researchers believe it is more than just the hormones, but the satisfaction of raising a plant to maturity.

Gardening is good for your heart

Doctors and researchers suggest that gardening is a great way to achieve moderate intensity exercise.  A large study in Europe found that people who regularly garden reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes by nearly 30%  for those over the age of 60.  Gardening outside in the sun will help you get Vitamin D which helps to reduce the risks of heart disease, osteoporosis and various cancers.  Research has shown that people with lower Vitamin D levels increase the risk of dying of heart disease and stroke.  

Gardening is good for mental health

Research is now showing that people who garden may reduce depression symptoms.  A study found that people who were diagnosed with depression, persistent low mood or bipolar 2 disorder experienced a noticeable improvement in their depression symptoms after 3 months of gardening just 6 hours a week.  Researchers were pleased with the results as the participant’s moods were seen to be better 3 months after the gardening program ended.  

Gardening is good for the environment

Gardening allows us to plant shrubs, flowers, vegetables that are highly effective air cleaners which absorb carbon dioxide and other air pollutants.  These plants release clean oxygen back into the environment.  Research has shown that gardening helps to hold soil in place, which reduces erosion and helps to keep sediment out of streams, storm drains and roads.  A recent study has shown that a well designed garden can help to cool your home in the summer and warm it in the winter.  Energy efficient landscaping has been found to reduce energy costs by nearly 20%.

Gardening may improve your sleep

In recent years, there is now a field of medicine called “Horticultural Therapy” developed to aid people with psychiatric disorders.  Studies have found that gardening done by participants who suffer from dementia or anxiety reduce their agitation which leads to better sleep patterns and a much improved quality of their rest.  A recent small study found that participants who suffered from cancer and other participants who were cancer – free were able to use gardening as a coping strategy for stressful life situations equally and as effectively which led to better sleep.

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