Benefits of Gardening for your Health

Now that the flowers are in bloom, it's the perfect time to consider taking up gardening. A physician explains the health benefits of doing so.

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CLEVELAND - The flowers are back in bloom, and that means it’s time to dust off your gardening tools.

If you’ve never done any kind of gardening before, you may want to give it a chance.

Not only can it be enjoyable, but it’s good for your health, too.

“Gardening is exercise. It works your strength and it’s weight bearing exercise, so it’s really good for osteoporosis prevention,” explained Deborah Benzil, MD, neurosurgeon for Cleveland Clinic. “I really like to think of gardening as the perfect exercise, particularly as we get older; that is past 30 or 35 when we really have to start thinking about these things.”

Dr. Benzil said other perks of gardening include the fact that it doesn’t really feel like exercise.

Plus, you get to spend time outdoors, which research has shown can benefit your mental health.

There’s also a sense of accomplishment from seeing the fruits of your labor.

While gardening can be low intensity, it’s still important to make sure you are taking the proper precautions to avoid injury.

Dr. Benzil said try not to hunch over, which can put strain on your back.

Instead, kneel down or use a stool to sit on as you’re planting.

And, don’t forget to do some stretching first.

“Just like any exercise, you need to build up to it, you need to prepare for it. You want to stretch a little bit before and it’s really important to stretch after you’ve done gardening,” she advised. “Again, just like any exercise, when you’ve twisted and turned, take that 5 or 10 minutes to really allow your body to settle back into its normal positions by doing those gentle stretches.”

It’s also important to be careful when lifting heavy mulch or soil. That’s another easy way to hurt yourself.

Dr. Benzil suggests using a wheelbarrow or keeping the bags at waist level on a shelf or truck bed, for example, so they’re easier to carry.

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Cleveland Clinic is a nonprofit multispecialty academic medical center that integrates clinical and hospital care with research and education. Located in Cleveland, Ohio, it was founded in 1921 by four renowned physicians with a vision of providing outstanding patient care based upon the principles of cooperation, compassion and innovation. Cleveland Clinic has pioneered many medical breakthroughs, including coronary artery bypass surgery and the first face transplant in the United States. Cleveland Clinic is consistently recognized in the U.S. and throughout the world for its expertise and care. Among Cleveland Clinic’s 81,000 employees worldwide are more than 5,743 salaried physicians and researchers, and 20,160 registered nurses and advanced practice providers, representing 140 medical specialties and subspecialties. Cleveland Clinic is a 6,690-bed health system that includes a 173-acre main campus near downtown Cleveland, 23 hospitals, 276 outpatient facilities, including locations in northeast Ohio; Florida; Las Vegas, Nevada; Toronto, Canada; Abu Dhabi, UAE; and London, England. In 2023, there were 13.7 million outpatient encounters, 323,000 hospital admissions and observations, and 301,000 surgeries and procedures throughout Cleveland Clinic’s health system. Patients came for treatment from every state and 132 countries. Visit us at clevelandclinic.org. Follow us at twitter.com/CleClinicNews. News and resources available at newsroom.clevelandclinic.org.

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