Gardening for Wellness: Life-Changing Benefits for Mind, Body, and Soul

Last Updated on February 14, 2024 by Lifevif Team and JC Franco

People often ask me; “why do you keep your own vegetable garden?”! After being asked a few times, I have become aware that many people are completely unfamiliar with the benefits and advantages of gardening. And I am not just talking about the emotional benefits I get from being outside pottering around my gardening. There are just so many other benefits to enjoy too! 

If you have an interest in gardening and need to learn a bit more about why gardening is beneficial, you have come to the right place! I am about to share that information with you below. I must admit that before I started gardening as my hobby (or my obsession), I didn’t know that it would be quite so beneficial or advantageous to my life. If you would like to take a closer look at the 21 benefits of creating your very own garden, simply read on.

Believe me when I say that the following benefits of gardening are just the tip of the iceberg. When you get started, you are bound to find a multitude of other personal benefits and advantages that crop up along the way. Let’s take a closer look at how gardening has been advantageous to my life (and can be to yours, too).

21 ways gardening can benefit your life. Gardening:

1. Provides a good old fashioned dose of self-esteem

People often lack self-esteem when they feel like nothing is going their way, or they “can’t do anything right”. When gardening, the rewards aren’t immediate, but they are worth it. Once plants start to flourish and the garden starts to take shape, it gives the gardener something to feel good about. It’s an especially big self-esteem boost when others start to notice the positive change in your garden, too. 

2. Boosts heart health and lowers the risk of strokes.

Moderate exercise is important for heart health. If any form of exercise gets your heart rate up (and gardening will do that), it will keep your heart healthy and lower your risk of a stroke. 

3. Ensures a good night’s sleep (make that many nights of good sleep).

I have often found that it’s hard to fall asleep some nights, but on the nights when I have spent the day gardening, I am exhausted and well spent. What’s the result? I fall right to sleep!

4. Develops strong hands and fingers (a good thing as you age).

As one ages, the hands and fingers can lose strength and flexibility. This could be due to lifestyle changes and the fact that we start to use our hands less as time goes by. Age-related deterioration is also a cause. The only way to keep the hands and fingers strong and flexible is to work them. The more you exercise them, the healthier and stronger they will be. 

5. Helps you bid a fond farewell to high-stress levels.

Stress is alleviated by removing yourself from a stressful situation and enjoying a decent distraction. Doing something completely different from your daily activities/work is essential for stress relief. Gardening is my go-to to escape the stresses and strains of the day. 

6. Gives you access to free vitamin D.

Vitamin D is essential for regulating calcium absorption, maintaining phosphorous levels, and helping with the absorption of magnesium. Yes, you can pop a vitamin D pill supplement every day, or you can aim to get a few hours outside in the sun each week. 

About 15 minutes of sunshine per day provides a good amount of vitamin D – which happens to be just enough time to water the plants, trim a few edges, and do a bit of pruning. That’s convenient, right?

7. Offers gardeners well-deserved financial relief.

The more fruit, vegetables, and herbs you grow for yourself, the less you will need to spend at the grocery store. That means money saving!

8. Delivers a healthy dose of M. vaccae, which makes you happy.

There’s a healthy bacterium called M.vaccae, which can be found in dirt. When this bacterium comes in contact with the skin and is absorbed, it boosts the immune system and promotes happy feelings. Digging in the garden, planting seeds, and tending to garden beds expose you to that bacteria. 

9. Provides a daily sense of purpose.

When you have something to do every day, you have an increased sense of purpose, which is psychologically healthy for you. Gardening requires little things to do be done daily. 

10. Gives you a great bone density boost.

Most people lift weights and eat calcium-rich foods to boost bone density. The truth is that you don’t have to go to the gym to increase bone density. Working with heavyweights of any kind will have the same bone density boosting effects, such as pushing a wheelbarrow, lifting heavy objects, and digging. 

11. Provides a healthy menu to choose from, in your back yard.

 Ever opened the fridge and found that you don’t have anything healthy to eat? When you have a thriving garden, everything you need to whip up a healthy and nutritional meal can be found in your backyard. 

12. Provides a fail-proof way to bond with the family.

If you ever find yourself looking for an activity that the whole family can enjoy together without having to pay a hefty price for it, a gardening day is a great option. 

13. Provides an effective way of staving off dementia.

An active mind is a healthy mind. Studies show that while nothing can “cure” dementia, you can stave off the symptoms by keeping the mind active and busy. Gardening requires you to be consistently thinking about what to do now and what to do next. It’s great for brain health. 

14. Guarantees fewer days of loneliness and boredom.

If you find that you get bored because you are lonely every now and then, a hobby can really help alleviate the feelings that result. Gardening, for me, is a great loneliness and boredom buster. It’s hard to be either lonely or bored when you are busy pottering around in the garden. 

15. Is an almost 100% free therapy.

Therapy comes in many shapes and forms. For me, gardening is a great free form of therapy. I work out all of my frustrations while gardening. I also work through complex emotions and thoughts in my mind, while I am carrying out my gardening tasks. It’s a great way to “get in the zone” and reach mental and emotional balance. 

16. Offers an excellent form of mindfulness practice.

Mindfulness is all about living in the current moment, truly appreciating and engaging in what you are doing right now. If you want to live more mindfully, gardening provides a great way to practice that. 

17. Provides an effective way to increase flexibility and mobility. 

The more you move and stretch, the more flexible and agile you will be. As we age, flexibility and mobility tend to decrease. You can keep fit, flexible, and able to move freely by keeping up with your fitness. Gardening is great for that. 

18. Keeps you slim and trim by burning calories.

 If you want to lose weight, gardening can play a role in your weight-loss strategy. I try to get into the garden 3 to 4 times a week for an hour at a time. In general, 1 hour of gardening can burn between 200-400 calories

19. Provides an invigorating sensory experience.

Many people think that rejuvenating body and mind is all about relaxing spa therapies and extended moments of quietness. For me, it’s quite the opposite. In order for me to “blow off steam”, I need to do something that is exciting and invigorating; a sensory experience is my first choice. Gardening will appeal to your touch, smell, taste, sight, and hearing senses. 

20. Keeps depression and anxiety at bay.

Having something to do and then seeing positive results over time, is a good way to keep depression and anxiety in their place. A depressed or anxious person with nothing to do or with no creative outlet may only become more depressed or anxious. Gardening helps me to remain positive, focused, and depression-free. 

21. Beautifies your property, thus adding curb appeal (and monetary value).

If you ever wish to sell your home, keeping a beautiful garden can be quite helpful in getting the price that you are looking for. Homes with flourishing gardens sell for higher prices than those without.

Now that you know all about the advantages and benefits of gardening, you are probably dying to get out there and get started. Start slowly and work your way up – and you will soon be reaping the many benefits and advantages of gardening, too. 

This article was co-authored by our team of in-house and freelance writers, and reviewed by our editors, who share their experiences and knowledge about the "Seven F's of Life".

JC Franco

JC Franco is a New York-based editor for Lifevif. He mainly focuses on content about faith, spirituality, personal growth, finance, and sports. He graduated from Mercyhurst University with a Bachelor’s degree in Business, majoring in Marketing. He is a certified tennis instructor who teaches in the New York City Metropolitan area. In terms of finance, he has passed the Level I exam of the CFA program.