September 17, 2020
Have you ever walked into a plant-filled room and felt an immediate sense of calm? That’s not your imagination. Being around plants and caring for them has real health benefits that anyone can enjoy.
Whether you’re an urban dweller sprucing up an indoor space or a suburbanite with a full-fledged garden, plants can improve your health in four big ways.
Let’s start with the obvious: thanks to photosynthesis, plants remove carbon dioxide from the air and replace it with oxygen. This process is the opposite of what occurs in the human body: we breathe in oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide. Indoor plants can keep the air in your home clean and oxygen-rich, which is great for lung and respiratory health. In the case of an outside garden, the effects are even stronger: in addition to getting fresh air outdoors, the physical exertion of gardening strengthens the lungs.
As with any exercise, the end of a gardening session can leave you feeling full of endorphins and physically strong. But the effects are emotional, too. Gardening can reduce stress, and taking care of a growing plant can give you a feeling of well-being. That same benefit of care is found with indoor plants: beyond their aesthetic value, people just feel better having plants in the house. Exposure to natural environments improves your mood, reduces anxiety, and helps with self-esteem. Receiving compliments on your garden or flowers helps, too!
Especially with a garden, all that hard work comes with a great payoff. After all, what’s better than fresh produce or herbs? The fruits and vegetables grown in a garden promote healthier eating, and they often taste better than what you buy in the grocery store because they’re fresher! Even indoors, you can grow herbs or other smaller plants that can make their way into your meals. These benefits are especially true for children. Gardening or caring for plants provides them with a better understanding of where their food comes from, which can guide them toward a life-long practice of eating more fruits and vegetables.
As mentioned earlier, caring for plants is physical work, and therefore, promotes fitness. Whether you’re digging around in the garden, carrying a heavy watering can, trimming leaves, or doing any of the other work required to care for plants, gardening keeps you moving. Plants are sedentary but they promote an active lifestyle.
These four benefits are just scratching the surface of how caring for plants or tending a garden can support your health. Caring for plants teaches children responsibility and can help bring families closer together as they work together to nurture the plants. If you find joy in caring for plants, gardening can become a lifelong hobby: a single activity that promotes fitness, supports healthy eating, and nurtures your emotional needs well into your older years.