The Health Benefits of Gardening
At Sage Collective, our philosophy of vibrant living encompasses everything from engaging in moderate, regular physical activity to eating a primarily plant-based diet and having an active social life. Interestingly enough, gardening touches on all three of these facets of vibrant living at once. Adopting gardening as a hobby brings a wide array of health benefits and beyond — let’s take a look:
Physical Health Benefits
Naturally, spending time outdoors gardening leads to higher levels of Vitamin D exposure. Adequate Vitamin D exposure is particularly important for older adults, as it increases calcium levels, therefore improving bone health and providing a boost to your immune system. The act of gardening is also an accessible, aerobic form of exercise that aids in increased flexibility, strength and stamina. Additionally, if you’re growing a vegetable, fruit or herb garden, all that fresh food is great for your diet!
Mental Health Benefits
Growing and nurturing a living garden brings with it a deep sense of accomplishment, pride and self confidence. Just look at what you can do with your own two hands! Gardening is also believed to help reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. In fact, one scientific study even posits that inhaling M. vaccae, a healthy bacteria that lives in the soil, can increase levels of serotonin – the key hormone that stabilizes our mood, feeling of well-being, and overall happiness.
Social and Cultural Benefits
While it can be a solo activity, gardening is also a great way to spend time with family, friends or neighbors. Community gardens in particular help many older adults to combat loneliness, all while contributing to the greater good of their neighborhood. Gardening has long been a way for communities to come together, to nurture each other, and to practice healing, sovereignty and even resistance.
At Sage Collective, we advocate for older adults to adopt gardening as part of their lifestyles for all these reasons and more. In support of this belief, we will continue to promote the adoption of community gardens in the residential environments in which we engage older adults (including our own residents currently in development in Bronzeville), as well as bringing farmers’ markets to such communities. Stay tuned for more!