If you garden for pleasure, you may not be aware of how beneficial this hobby is for your health. Gardening ranks up there with other moderate to strenuous forms of exercise, like walking and bicycling. Approximately 300 calories an hour can be burned just by gardening! Working in the garden gives all major muscle groups a good workout whether from digging up soil, setting plants, carrying water, weeding, pruning, mowing, sweeping and even walking around the yard can increase heart rate – exercise is taking place!

Research is showing that gardening for just 30 minutes daily will help increase flexibility, strengthen joints, decrease blood pressure and cholesterol levels, lower your risk for diabetes, and slow osteoporosis. Additionally, gardening is beneficial for your mental health, allowing you to do something calming, creative and fun!

How much is enough? You can break up the sessions into short bursts of moderate activity throughout the day. For example, if you weed for 10 minutes in the morning, push a mower for 10 minutes in the afternoon, and dig up soil for 10 minutes in the evening you get similar health benefits as you would doing 30 consecutive minutes of comparable activities.

Gardening and yard work can include a wide range of physical exertion levels, so you’re bound to find something to fit your needs. This means that even if you’re older, you can still enjoy puttering in the garden and cleaning up your lawn. For those who find it challenging to kneel or have limited mobility, consider a raised garden bed as an option to still enjoy the benefits of gardening. Just make sure you check with your doctor first, that way you can tackle the gardening tasks that are appropriate for you.

Gardening also benefits your health when you choose to grow and eat your own food. Nothing quite compares to the fresh, sweet taste of food that has been grown and harvested from your own garden. So, get outside and experience for yourself the impressive benefits of gardening!