Lifestyle Changes

Four Ways Gardening is Good for your Heart

Here are some heart-healthy reasons to get out and garden.

  • Gardening is good exercise. A recent study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that low-level physical activities such as gardening are associated with reduced risk of death from heart disease. In particular, the study found that people who engaged in low-level activities like gardening for less than one hour per week reduced their risk of death from heart disease by 12 percent. Those who engaged in these activities for more than two hours per week reduced their risk of death from heart disease by 37 percent.
  • Gardening reduces stress. Stress is known to lead to major health problems, including heart disease. That’s why reducing stress is good for your heart. Studies show that gardening is a great way to reduce stress by spending time in nature, calming our bodies and minds.
  • Gardening improves life satisfaction. A feeling of satisfaction with life is subjective and varies from person to person. However, scientists use surveys, interviews, and other methods to quantify, on average, how satisfied an individual or group of people feel. Studies have shown that gardening improves feelings of satisfaction with life by boosting positive emotions and reducing feelings of depression and loneliness.
  • Gardening encourages healthy eating. You can grow all types of edible fruits, vegetables, and flowers in your garden. Raising your own fruits and vegetables encourages you to eat more of them. A healthy diet – especially one with lots of fruits and veggies – is good for your heart.

What are you waiting for? Get gardening! Here are some tips to stay safe and healthy as you tend to your plants.

  • Stay hydrated. The amount of water you need each day depends on your age, sex, and health condition, and there are no specific guidelines. However, exercise and sun exposure can cause your body to lose fluid, so it’s important to drink more than usual when gardening.
  • Protect yourself from sun exposure by wearing long sleeves, hats, and sunscreen. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends sunscreen with an SPF above 30.
  • Know your limits for physical activity and heat exposure. Learn more about the American Heart Association’s Recommendations for Physical Activity.

 

Next steps:

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References

  1. American Academy of Dermatology. Sunscreen FAQs. https://www.aad.org/media/stats/prevention-and-care/sunscreen-faqs 
  2. American Heart Association Recommendations for Physical Activity in Adults and Kids. https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/fitness/fitness-basics/aha-recs-for-physical-activity-in-adults
  3. Soga M., et al., (2017). Preventive Medicine Reports, 5. 92-99. 
  4. Zhao M., et al. (2018). British Journal of Sports Medicine.

 

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