Gardening isn't just about making your house look good (although a little curb appeal certainly never hurts). Caring for plants can also do wonders for your own wellbeing, an abundance of scientific research suggests. The physical exercise can contribute to a healthy weight and blood pressure levels, and just interacting with flora can improve your mood and mental health.
1. Gardening burns a lot of calories
Good news for those who already spend hours planting perennials: Gardening is considered moderate-intensity exercise. You can burn about 330 calories doing one hour of light gardening and yard work — more than walking at a moderate pace for the same amount of time — according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
2. It can lower your blood pressure
Just 30 minutes of moderate-level physical activity most days of the week can prevent and control high blood pressure. In fact, The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute recommends gardening or raking leaves for 30-45 minutes as examples of how to hit that recommended amount.
2. Spending time outside is good for your bones
When you're outdoors and your skin is exposed to the sun, it prompts your body to make vitamin D. This vitamin — also found in fish and fortified foods like milk — helps your body absorb calcium, a mineral essential for bone formation, according to the National Institutes of Health. (FYI: You should still apply sunscreen if you're planning on spending more than a few minutes in the sun to lower your risk of skin cancer.)