Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Sunday 18 April |
Saint of the Day: Bl. Maria Anna Blondin
home iconLifestyle
line break icon

Why gardening is so good for you


Joshua Resnick / Shutterstock

Beatriz Camargo - published on 04/25/19

If you want to stop and smell the roses in old age, you should start planting those flowers now.

It might sound too good to be true, but studies show that, in the long run, doing garden work has similar health benefits to those obtained by doing exercise at a gym. These results were published in an article in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, based on research that suggests that, besides sports, other leisure activities involving physical activity, such as gardening, when practiced regularly, help reduce the incidence of death from cancer and cardiovascular diseases specifically, and from death by any cause in general.

According to the paper, activities such as planting flowers, pruning bushes or trees, or digging flower beds, among others, bring health benefits to our body similar to those associated with regular exercise. The study used 12 years of data covering nearly 90,000 total participants in the USA aged 40-85. It showed that participants who engaged in leisure activities such as gardening, dancing, going for a brisk walk, or swimming received notable benefits.

The data was supplied by the National Health Interview Survey, carried out annually in the United States by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. It showed that people who spent at least 10 minutes to an hour per week of these activities experienced an 18% reduction in their risk of death overall. This benefit rose to 31% among those who dedicated 2.5 to 5 hours of their time to a hobby requiring physical activity. Generally speaking, the way to get greater benefits was shown to be engaging in more strenuous activity, rather than increasing the time spent on it.

This isn’t the first study to show that being physically active, even without going to the gym or participating in sports, gives people better quality of life and a longer life expectancy. Other studies have also shown that activities like gardening improve people’s mental health, helping reduce depression and anxiety.

The authors of the study note that “beneficial association between leisure time physical activity (PA) and mortality starts from a low dose”; as noted above, a significant benefit came from just 10 minutes to an hour of physical activity per week. That means that even busy people with little time to spare (that is to say, most adults) have no excuse not to improve their own health. In short, if we spend some time to plant the roses now, we’ll be able to take more time to stop and smell them later on.

Read more:
6 Flowers (other than roses) that say “I love you”


Read more:
Why nature should be your children’s playground

HealthHealth and Wellness
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Bret Thoman, OFS
What Padre Pio saw in the Spanish Flu of 1918
Annalisa Teggi
Amputee from the waist down is thankful every day to be alive
Philip Kosloski
Padre Pio’s favorite prayer of petition
Philip Kosloski
5 Essential things used at Mass and their symbolism
Cerith Gardiner
7 Joys to be had from a lengthy marriage
Philip Kosloski
Catholic prayers for strength
Zelda Caldwell
Mystery of crosses on walls of Church of the Holy Sepulchre may h...
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.