You probably already knew that gardening was a fun pastime, but did you also know it can improve your life in other ways? The positive effects of gardening can range from stress relief to improved diet choices. Even if you don’t have a green thumb, you may find that gardening improves your life. Here are some of the things that gardening can do for you.

Improves Your Diet

Growing fresh fruits and vegetables in your own backyard promotes a healthy diet. When you grow your own foods, you also have control over any pesticides used. By using organic pest-control methods, you can avoid ingesting harmful poisons.

Boosts Your Immune System

Soil is home to billions of bacteria, fungi, algae, protozoa, and other microorganisms. Digging in the dirt puts your body in direct contact with these microorganisms, which can actually boost your immune system. You’ve probably heard that a child exposed to dirt and germs early on in life can lower their risk of asthma and allergies. But it turns out that exposure to naturally occurring microbes in the garden can actually be beneficial to the immune system at any age.

Lowers Stress Levels

Working in a garden has been found to reduce stress. According to an article published in the Journal of Health Psychology that compared two common methods of stress relief, gardening and reading, the participants who gardened experienced a more significant reduction in stress compared to the participants who read.

Helps You Stay Active

Gardening can be a form of moderate-to-high-intensity exercise, depending on the task you’re performing. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) even recommends gardening for 30 to 45 minutes per day as part of an active lifestyle.

Burns Calories

Looking to shed a few pounds? According to WebMD, planting flowers, pulling weeds, and other common gardening tasks can burn between 200 and 400 calories per hour on average. Heavier yard work, such as hauling dirt and landscaping, can burn as many as 400 to 600 calories per hour.

Enhances Your Mood

Gardening can provide countless mental health benefits. Fresh air, coupled with the beauty and scent of fresh flowers, can promote positive emotional well-being. It’s even been found to help people with serious health conditions, such as cancer, better cope with their illness.

Reduce Loneliness

Getting involved in a community garden or other collaborative gardening project can be an amazing socialization opportunity for people of all ages, especially elderly individuals. Following retirement, many older individuals find socializing to be more difficult, sometimes resulting in feelings of loneliness or depression. Working with other people in a garden setting allows eco-conscious individuals to join together to produce beautifying flowers and healthy and affordable fruits and veggies.

Increases Confidence

There’s truly nothing more satisfying then watching something that you have cared for and nourished grow and thrive. This is exactly what gardening can do for you. As you develop your gardening skills and see results from your hard work, you will likely find a boost in your self-esteem and overall confidence levels.