Culture and Lifestyle Healthy Living Healthy Activities Gardening Just Twice A Week Improves Well-Being And Relieves Stress An effortless exercise that yields beautiful and beneficial results. By Melissa Locker Melissa Locker Melissa Locker writes about food, drinks, culture, gardening, and the joys of Waffle House Southern Living's editorial guidelines Updated on March 17, 2023 Fact checked by Jillian Dara Fact checked by Jillian Dara Jillian is a freelance writer, editor and fact-checker with 10 years of editorial experience in the lifestyle genre. In addition to fact-checking for Southern Living, Jillian works on multiple verticals across Dotdash-Meredith, including TripSavvy, The Spruce, and Travel + Leisure. brand's fact checking process Share Tweet Pin Email When my brothers and I were shipped off for summers at my grandfather's house in rural Virginia and sibling frustrations were running high, my grandmother would gather us up, point outside the screen door, and tell us, "Go pull weeds!" It was her proven remedy for many of life's woes. While all of us kids grumbled about it, once we were outside tugging up misplaced plants, smashing dirt clods, and making the garden look nice, we always felt better. Now, there's studies that prove what gardeners have been trying to tell us all along—gardening is good for your mental and physical health and overall well-being. Education Images / Contributor / Getty Images This study, published in the journal Cities, indicates that people who garden more frequently may see improvements in well-being, how stressed they feel, and get to see the benefits of increased physical activity. In scientific terms, the new research indicated that people who garden frequently have well-being scores that are 6.6 percent higher and stress levels 4.2 percent lower than people who do not garden at all. The researchers saw the most mental and physical benefit in people who gardened at least two to three times a week. "The evidence overwhelmingly suggests that the more frequently you garden—the greater the health benefits," Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) well-being fellow and lead author Dr. Lauriane Chalmin-Pui told Science Focus. It's easy to see that gardening can distract you from other stressors in your life, which Chalmin-Pui explains as nature shifting "our focus away from ourselves," which can help in "reducing negative feelings." Perhaps more surprising is that gardening is also good for physical health. "In fact gardening every day has the same positive impact on well-being than undertaking regular, vigorous exercise like cycling or running," said Chalmin-Pui. Even better, though, "gardening is like effortless exercise because it doesn't feel as strenuous as going to the gym." Effortless exercise sounds like a winning combination for sure. And MindBodyGreen pointed out back in 2019 that a University of Arkansas study showed that "digging in the dirt can even help enhance bone density." Plus, the University of Utah did a study that found that people who participated in community gardening had "substantially lower body mass index" and lower odds of being overweight or obese than the nongardeners." Gardening it seems is the perfect mind-body exercise, plus you get garden-fresh tomatoes and gorgeous peonies. So go get in touch with your inner Bunny Mellon and head outside—for your health! Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! Tell us why! Other Submit Sources Southern Living is committed to using high-quality, reputable sources to support the facts in our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we fact check our content for accuracy. Chalmin-Pui LS, Griffiths A, Roe J, Heaton T, Cameron R. Why garden?–Attitudes and the perceived health benefits of home gardening. Cities. 2021;112:103118. doi:10.1016/j.cities.2021.103118 Rigby S. Gardening just twice a week improves wellbeing and relieves stress. BBC Science Focus Magazine. Turner L. Got Weeds? University Of Arkansas Researchers Say Yard Work Builds Strong Bones. University of Arkansas News. University of Utah. Community gardens may produce more than vegetables. ScienceDaily.