Five Eye-Popping Benefits Of Our Favorite Activity – Gardening!


Gardeners are almost always in motion, getting a moderate-intensity workout along with stress reduction.

The many benefits of gardening are all over the news these days. Gardening has something for everyone, from schools to assisted living centers. Here’s our top five most appreciated gifts from the practice of gardening:

  1. Gardening is great exercise.
    Save money on that gym membership! Depending on where you live, gardening can be an “extreme sport,” as those afternoons of pulling weeds actually offer a moderate intensity, well-rounded workout. Gardeners are almost always in motion with a never-ending variety of garden tasks. From trimming a lawn to deadheading flowers and planting new plants, we only need to care for our garden to reap the benefits. And just look at our workout equipment!

  2. My garden is my gym. Garden tools that give you a workout.
  3. Love the soil.
    Scientists have found that exposure to harmless microorganisms in the environment, like common soil bacteria (M. vaccae), helps boost our immune system and it even seems to increase serotonin production in the brain, relieving depression and improving mood. Through a walk in the wild or rooting around in the garden we inhale these beneficial bacteria. They can also be ingested by eating the plants we grow in our vegetable gardens. This may help explain why so many of us experience deeply positive benefits from time spent in our landscapes. Rooting around in the garden does elicit a jolly state of mind.

  4. Healthy soil.

  5. Bury that stress!
    Studies are showing that gardening promotes a real reduction in stress. In one study, thirty gardeners underwent a stressful test. Half then gardened for 30 minutes, and the other half went indoors and read. Mood and stress levels were measured throughout. While both groups recovered from the stress, the gardeners recovered more quickly and more thoroughly. In fact, study after study is showing that gardeners experience improvements in health and well-being from spending time in their gardens.

  6. larkspur-garden-chair-Sarah-Solomon-KS

    A tranquil garden in Kansas, featuring Larkspur.
  7. Gardening can make you kinder, happier and more creative.
    Okay, that’s a big claim, but several studies from UC Berkeley were designed to measure the effect of exposure to beauty in nature--and what could be more beautiful than one’s garden? Each participant was exposed to a natural scene, some subjectively chosen as more beautiful than others. They were then observed playing two economics games that measure generosity and trust. Those participants exposed to the more beautiful nature scenes acted more generously and more trusting in the games than those who saw less beautiful images. These results appeared to be due to corresponding increases in positive emotion.

    In another study, participants were surveyed about their emotions while sitting at tables with more or less beautiful plants. After the survey, the participants were told the experiment was done, but that if they liked, they could stay after and make paper cranes as part of a relief effort in Japan. Results showed that participants seated with more beautiful plants stayed on and made more cranes. The researcher’s conclusion: exposure to the beauty of nature increases positive emotion. Whether it’s a walk in a park or a stroll through your garden, creating beauty has far reaching benefits for the gardener and those who view it.

  8. Beautiful yarrow garden.

    A customer's beautiful garden, featuring Achillea (Yarrow).
  9. Mindfulness, or, give that brain some down time!
    Don’t have time for a daily meditation? Gardening is an activity that helps a lot of people experience a sense of ‘flow,’ where immersion in the moment happens and the brain’s list of things to do in the future or rehashing the past melt away. Even a few moments of presence can make a big difference. What is special about gardening is that our hands are in the earth, literally connecting us to the web of life. Feeling the connections we all share, having hope for new plants and seeds, and practicing patience and flexibility as nature shows her hand in unexpected ways. These gifts enhance our resilience and connection to the ebb and flow of life.


This New Jersey garden features Pennisetum alopeduroides Karley Rose (Karley Rose Fountain Grass)

What do you think? We’d love to hear from you. Let us know what your favorite gardening benefits are!

By Katrina Godshalk, a garden writer with over eight years of experience writing for the High Country Gardens catalog. Katrina is currently pursuing a master's degree in sustainability. She makes her home in Washington State, and has gardened extensively in the Southwest.

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12 thoughts on “Five Eye-Popping Benefits Of Our Favorite Activity – Gardening!”

  • Sue Stapleton
    Sue Stapleton 07/08/16 at 5:35 am

    I love this article I wanted share it on my Facebook page to all my friends and family but there are no share buttons except for the whole newsletter. It would be really handy to have the share buttons on each post to facilitate this. You are losing the value of these great pieces of content. I am sure Wordpress has a plugin for this. I have loved High Country Gardens for a long time and wish you every success so that is why I am spending the time to tel you this.

    • Gabi

      Hi Sue, thank you so much for your feedback! We will look into ways to more easily share our articles and content. Please do let us know if you have additional feedback, and we're always happy to see what we're able to do!

  • Linda

    Gardening is always healthy for me. Helps to relieve my migraines.

  • Liz Douville
    Liz Douville 07/08/16 at 9:13 am

    Great article-- My Garden is My Gym would make a fantastic poster!! I'm sure I'm not the only one who would buy two or three or maybe more!! Not too big, just a good size to make a statement and make guests stop in their tracks!! Thanks for always providing good information and especially today with a good giggle.

  • Bluestategirl
    Bluestategirl 07/08/16 at 11:55 am

    I have several autoimmune diseases, as well as chronic pain, that have left me unable to do very much in the way of outdoor activities. 1-1/2 years ago, we bought a house (after years of apartment living), and the front of our house has a strip of earth for gardening that is 5 ft wide by 50 ft long. This year, I really put my heart into learning what to plant there. I put in lots perennials like purple, lite purple and blue salvia, and a few blue catmint plants, as well as many annuals. Everything has shades of purple and blue with a few pale pink and white blooms for contrast. Its my first real garden, and I get many lovely complements on it which is gratifying. I have even made friends with many of my neighbors, who stop by to ask me about the flowers, and forming those relationships is new for me. But the biggest change has been seeing a significant reduction in my depression, and most especially, my perceived level of pain. Getting out in the fresh air, getting a little sun, and using my muscles again, has benefited me so much -- but it wasn't until I read this article that I realized there is a connection between the changes I am seeing in how I feel, and the beautiful garden outside my front door. Thank you.

    • Wendy

      You're welcome. We definitely feel gardening is really therapeutic and important to our well-being. We're happy to hear that it's benefited you so much.

  • Laurie McGrath
    Laurie McGrath 07/08/16 at 5:50 pm

    Love the "gym" photo! Would make a great t-shirt.

    • Wendy

      You're the second person to ask for a t-shirt. We might have to get busy this winter offering one. Thanks for the suggestion.

  • Lora Anderson
    Lora Anderson 07/12/16 at 6:56 am

    Gardening is wonderful therapy for me especially when I taught school. It is so lovely now I have more time to spend in our yard. I experience "cabin fever" all seasons. There is no music better on this sweet earth than the songs of birds when one has the privilege of working in the garden.

  • Valerie

    Please, please put that graphic on a T-shirt or sweatshirt!

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