Gardening Is Good For You—Science Says So!

Science is backing up what gardeners have known for ages: Horticulture offers a myriad of benefits, from stress relief to science aptitude.

by Cory Hershberger
PHOTO: Nick Olejniczak/Flickr

We’ve covered how gardening keeps you healthy in the past here on, as well as how playing in the barn is good for you, too, but agriculture as a health-promoting activity is back in the news again.

Over at The Conversation, writer and urban horticulturist Chris Williams has rounded up a collection of studies, both qualitative and quantitative, that offer scientific proof on the myriad benefits to gardening. Here are just some of the findings:

  • Students who participate in school gardening programs are more likely to have positive attitudes on growing and consuming vegetables, as well as higher scores on science achievement tests and above-average interpersonal skills. Healthy, smart and communicative students—what’s not to love about that?
  • Sometimes, the act of caring for another living thing, even a plant, can have positive effects on people. Therapeutic horticulture—gardening as therapy—has been shown to give patients with clinical depression existential purpose, aka a meaning to life, and gardening has also been shown to markedly improve the lives of veterans.
  • Therapeutic horticulture has also been shown to improve mood, which in turn reduces stress. Next time you’re fuming after a hard day, spend an hour in the garden!

Sure, none of these findings are surprising to those of us who farm and garden on the regular, but it’s nice to see some scientific proof to back up what we already know! And this is just another great excuse to go out and get your hands dirty—it’s still not too late to get some cool-weather crops into the ground!

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