Wellness & Wisdom Blog

Health Benefits of Gardening

May 23, 2024
Wellness & Wisdom Blog

As Alaskans we know that in the summer it’s all systems go–from outdoor fun to stocking up on home-grown goodies for the year. Summers are full of work and play. We use the added daylight to get all our projects done and prepare ourselves for winter. But even while we are soaking up every second of the sun, there is still the need to relax and connect. Gardening isn’t just about work; it’s a mini vacay for your mind! Let’s dig into the health perks of this green-thumb gig.

Benefits Your Wallet

We’ve all felt the sting of the hefty price tags on fresh produce. Taking advantage of your ability to grow your own is not only rewarding, but so good for you! Gardening can boost self-reliance, zap stress and lead to potential savings on healthcare costs in the long run.

Increases Your Physical Activity

Gardening involves various physical activities such as digging, planting, weeding, watering and harvesting. These activities can enhance your overall physical activity levels by involving muscles across the body, fostering flexibility, strength and endurance. Gardening can be a gentle form of exercise, suitable for individuals of various ages and fitness levels.

Improves Your Diet

Engaging in gardening offers a wonderful chance to enjoy fresh vegetables. The advantage is that it’s your garden, so you get to choose what to grow. Alaska is ideal for cultivating root vegetables like beets, carrots, potatoes, radishes and others! These vegetables are excellent for preserving and enjoying during the chilly winter season.

Connects You with Nature

Spending time outdoors has numerous physical and mental health benefits. Gardening can improve mental health by providing a sense of accomplishment, fostering mindfulness and reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression. Digging into gardening is like having a heart-to-heart with nature, boosting your mood, and nurturing a bond with the great outdoors. Relax and let go of daily stresses by immersing yourself in the garden. A regular garden routine can bring a sense of calm after a hectic day.

Stanley, Kari’s son, enjoying the benefits of gardening.

Connects Your Family

The garden at my place is full-on family fun! From March seed planting shenanigans to May planting parties, the kids are all in, sprinkling love on those baby plants. Together, we battle weeds, shower the greens and give tons of TLC. The best part is harvesting and eating out of the garden. From pea-picking to carrot-digging, some veggies barely make it to the kitchen! Watching those veggies grow is pure magic. It’s a fulfilling feeling knowing you grew something from seed to finally savoring the flavor.

Bottom line: If you have the ability to grow anything, do it! You will be amazed at the benefits. If you don’t have the space, try containers on your porch or an herb garden in your window or even a hydroponic garden which is amazing of small spaces. It’s never too late to start. Take advantage of our long summer days. Happy growing!


Kari Johnson

Kari Johnson is the Community Wellness Supervisor at SEARHC. As a certified athletic trainer with a degree in Sports Medicine and Exercise Science and 20 years of experience in college athletics, Kari has assisted athletes in recovering from injuries and fostering healthy lifestyle habits. Her passions lie in family, health, wellness and education. Contact Kari at kjohnson1@searhc.org.

The views and opinions expressed on the Wellness & Wisdom Blog belong to the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium. The Wellness & Wisdom Blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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