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Why Gardening Works So Well for Health

By Sandy Schroeder

If you are planting a garden this summer, you may be improving your health in a lot of different ways. My mother was a dedicated gardener for her whole life, and now my older son grows six-foot tall tomato plants every summer. They would both tell you gardening has a lot to offer in health and satisfaction. Here are some of the benefits from

Erase stress - Ask any gardener. An hour outside digging in the dirt can make most worries disappear. CNN reported students who gardened experienced lower levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. Gardening triggers some of the same responses that yoga does. The minute you get started you begin to relax.

Strengthen the immune system - While you are gardening, you take in a lot of Vitamin D, which helps the body utilize calcium to keep bones strong and immune systems healthy.

Reduce risk for obesity, cancer or cancer reoccurrence - University of Alabama at Birmingham researchers worked with cancer survivors and found the ones who had vegetable gardens cut belly weight as they increased their intake of vegetables. 

Cut heart disease, diabetes and dementia risk - Researchers found eating more garden vegetables worked to replace bad choices in sugary, processed and calorie-loaded foods.

Burn calories - Gardening is a moderate to high-intensity exercise. An hour of light lawn work or gardening can burn up to 330 calories. The National Institutes of Health recommends 30 to 45 minutes of gardening 3 to 5 times a week.

Fight stroke - The Journal of The American Heart Association recommends gardening, jogging and swimming as ways to reduce the risk of stroke.

Fight high blood pressure - Using 30 minutes of moderate physical exercise such as gardening a couple times per week can help control high blood pressure.

Easy mood-makers - Researchers found growing flowers is a natural way to create satisfaction and happiness. From a simple vase of flowers to a whole garden of spectacular blooms, the positive effects are guaranteed.

Great teaching tool for kids - Kids learn a lot of lessons when they plant seeds and watch them grow. There’s a lot of pleasure and pride when those green shoots begin to appear.

If you have not tried gardening, or have limited space, windowsill boxes of green onions, herbs, lettuce, spinach or cherry tomatoes may be a great way to get started. If you love it, you may have a community garden nearby to use.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Brea, Calif.

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