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How Gardening Can Make You Healthier (Really!)

We know you’re obsessed with gardening, and frankly, that’s a good thing. That summertime hobby can actually improve your mental and physical wellbeing. Here’s how:

1. Burns calories
Good news for those who already spend hours planting perennials: Gardening is considered moderate- to high-intensity exercise. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, you can burn up to 330 calories during just one hour of light gardening and yard work — more than lifting weights for the same amount of time.

2. Lowers your blood pressure
Just 30 minutes of moderate-level physical activity a few times a week can prevent and control high blood pressure. In fact, gardening scored a place on the The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute‘s recommendation list for battling high blood pressure.

3. Strengthens your immune system
While you’re outdoors basking in the sun, you’ll also soak up plenty of vitamin D, which helps the body absorb calcium. In turn, calcium helps keep your bones strong and your immune system healthy.

4. Relieves stress
While it may sound a bit hippie-dippie, Anna Ranieri, PhD, suggests practicing mindfulness while you garden to lower stress. Try to be present by listening to the trees and pausing to feel the soil between your fingers. (You’re digging in the dirt anyway!)

5. Makes you happier
We already know you love pruning your rose bushes, but a study published in Evolutionary Psychology actually maps out the emotional impact of being around flowers. All participants smiled when they saw flowers, and researchers noted that flora had lasting positive effects on their moods.

 

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