Did you know there are mental and physical benefits to gardening? Of course, there is the physical labor of pulling weeds, digging holes, moving dirt, walking, carrying supplies, and raking. This activity strengthens muscles throughout the body including the heart. A recent study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine showed that low-level leisure activities like gardening reduced the risk of death from heart disease by 12% when performed less than an hour a week, and up to 37% when performed over two hours a week (Zhao, et al, 2019).

Spending time outdoors improves health in other ways, too. It can have a calming effect on the mind and body, offering the opportunity to focus the mind on something with a task to accomplish. That sense of accomplishment builds self-esteem, and there is always something new to learn and discover! Many people report feeling less anxious and more satisfied with their quality of life after gardening (Soga, Gaston, & Yamaura, 2016).

Of course, there are nutritional benefits to gardening, too! Spending a little time outside provides vitamin D to for healthy bones and a boost for the immune system. (Just remember to use sunscreen to avoid too much of a good thing.) Growing veggies, herbs, and fruit at home also helps people eat healthier. Check out this list of vegetables that grow well in Anne Arundel County, as well as the best times to plant them: https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/crops