National Park Rx, a growing movement among doctors to prescribe parks and nature to their patients, launched recently and I was asked to talk to the public about the benefits of gardening. Here’s the list I came up with:
- Great exercise (with too many benefits to list, or to keep up with).
- Improved immune system. (Hands in dirt – proven results.)
- Reduced risk of dementia. (This one I’d never seen before Googling for benefits.)
- Stress relief. (Oh, man.)
- Improved mood. (Ditto.)
- Connection with nature (The grand finale of benefits.)
I forgot “creative outlet.” Anything else?
My other mission was to encourage people to go to our local public gardens, so what are the proven benefits of being IN a garden, not gardening itself? I re-used these from the gardening list:
- Stress relief.
- Improved mood.
- Connection with nature.
And added this one:
- Getting inspired to garden.
But there are probably more. So what benefits do YOU experience from spending time in gardens?
To illustrate the benefits of being in a garden I used these photos of public gardens: the Regional Garden at the U.S. Botanic Garden in mid-summer, Magnolia Garden at the National Arboretum, and Brookside Gardens.
Park Rx to include gardens?
Yes, the leader of DC’s Park Rx program (profiled here on the Rant) assured me that public gardens WILL be included on its website and other promotions. Though not a gardener himself, he was easily convinced that gardens and gardening are good for our health. We hope that’s true of the national program, as well.