20 Mental and Physical Health Benefits of Gardening

Updated: Nov. 08, 2022

Gardening is good for you! Learn about the health benefits of gardening, including how it boosts your mood, reduces disease risk and more.

Garden Health Benefits for Kids

Kids will love to try their homegrown veggies.

Develop Healthy Eating Habits

Kids might turn up their noses at store-bought produce, but eating homegrown veggies is different, and you’ll immediately see the benefits of gardening. Help picky eaters by planting vegetables, and watch as they devour the harvest.

Nurture Smart Students

Gardening feeds minds as well as bodies. Each time you teach children about gardening, they get an education in math, science and nutrition.

Grow Responsible, Self Confident Kids

When kids see their garden filled with flowers or veggies, they gain a sense of pride knowing they had a hand in it. They also develop patience and learn to respect the earth.

Check out the top 10 easy plants for kids to grow.

Reduce Childhood Obesity

Keep kids active by introducing them to the fun and physical side of gardening. Show them that tending a garden can be rewarding for the beautiful flowers and tasty vegetables, and for the exercise and outdoor fun.

Broaden Their Horizons

Stuck on lunch foods? Can’t get your kids to help garden? Grow a few unique vegetables or flowers to get kids excited about gardening. They might eat that purple carrot because it’s a purple carrot!

Healthy After School Activities

Instead of rushing home to video games and TV, your kids can grab gardening gear after school, go on a frog hunt or count butterflies out back.

Combat ADHD

Getting outdoors is beneficial for kids with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It helps calm them so they can concentrate more easily. According to the National Wildlife Federation, exposing kids to natural settings may be widely effective in reducing the symptoms of ADHD.

Aid Kids With Learning Disabilities

Studies show that children with learning disabilities increased their nonverbal skills and formed positive relationships with others when they tended a garden.

Psst—here’s how to get kids excited about birding.

Garden Health Benefits for Adults

benefits of gardeningAUREMAR/SHUTTERSTOCK.COM
Grow your own healthy food in the garden.

Boost Your Mood

Ever wonder why gardeners are so chipper and optimistic? Spending time outside is one of the major benefits of gardening, and it can do wonders for your mood. It’s great for reducing stress and tension, and helping you relax. (Going birding is good for your mental health, too!)

Eat the Healthiest Foods Now

Growing vegetables means you’ll have the most nutritious veggies at your fingertips for the whole growing season. Even longer, if you find time for canning or freezing!

These are the best indoor plants for mental health, according to experts.

A Fun Way to Stay Fit

Woman gardeningBetsie Van der Meer/Getty Images
Get active and enjoy the outdoors.

Forty-five minutes of gardening burns as many calories as a 30-minute aerobic activity. Weeding, digging and planting can burn as many as 350 calories per hour. And it doesn’t feel like work. It’s fun exercise that gets you outdoors listening to the birds!

Improve Your Sleep

Get a better good night’s rest by eating a diet rich in vegetables and adding light exercise and fresh air. If you still have trouble getting your zzz’s, plant lavender to promote relaxation.

Follow this month-by-month guide to growing healthy vegetables

Power Foods Nourish People

Many foods low in calories but high in heart-disease-fighting nutrients—so-called “power foods”—are those we can grow ourselves. Some to try are asparagus, broccoli, avocado, bell peppers, carrots, leafy greens, tomatoes and squash.

Try these top garden trends of 2022.

Garden Health Benefits for the ‘Young at Heart’

Gardening can boost your health at any age.

Improve Mobility, Strength and Endurance

Low-impact exercises like digging, weeding and planting strengthen muscles. They are perfect for those who can’t participate in vigorous activity. Also, gardening uses many muscle groups as well as promoting hand strength, joint flexibility and improved motor skills.

Learn how to create a windowsill herb garden.

Reduce Health Risks

Gardeners have a lower risk of osteoporosis and diabetes. Spending time in a natural setting can lower blood pressure and relieve muscle tension.

Keep Your Heart Healthy

Research has proved that light physical activity significantly lowers the risk of heart disease.

Follow these 5 tips for picking healthy plants at the nursery.

Get a Daily Dose of Vitamin D

Vitamin D, obtained through exposure to sunlight, protects against health problems like osteoporosis, heart disease, stroke and cancer.

Improve Your Financial Health

Store-bought vegetables don’t taste as good as homegrown, and they can be on the pricey side. Even growing just a few of your favorites can noticeably trim your grocery bill.

Save money and recycle with cardboard gardening.

Promote Social Interaction

Get to know your neighbors while you tend your garden. Gardening is a bond that many people share and can help you become more involved with other members of the community.

Stimulate Your Mind

Gardening helps those with Alzheimer’s and other kinds of dementia by providing a safe and stimulating environment. The sensory stimulation can also help evoke memories. For more health benefits of gardening, look into planting a healing garden.