By Annette Pinder

Ever wonder why gardening makes you feel good? According to the National Initiative for Consumer Horticulture (NICH), gardening can be relaxing, help reduce stress, and create a sense of belonging and connectedness. Gardening also provides the opportunity to spend time outdoors absorbing vitamin D, which enhances the production of serotonin, which increases your sense of happiness and well-being.

For individuals who grow vegetables, rewards include the ability to consume healthy and nutritious foods. In fact, research reveals that individuals who grow their own vegetables are more health and diet conscious. Gardening also helps stimulate the brain, possibly reducing the risk of cognitive decline. Studies indicate that gardening regularly may help reduce the risk of dementia by 50%. Gardening also boosts your mood, as confirmed by studies that show gardening increases serotonin levels. Amazingly, studies also show that certain bacteria in the soil can boost your serotonin levels. Gardening is also a great way to practice mindfulness, which has also been shown to reduce stress levels, through focusing on various tasks and while appreciating the beauty of outdoor colors.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that adults engage in 150 minutes of moderately intense activity weekly, and gardening is a great way to achieve this. For example, using a wheelbarrow, raking, and shoveling are activities that require using your whole body. Hauling water buckets and mulching are excellent strength-building activities, and working with garden tools helps to strengthen hands and improve agility.

Since some of the activities associated with gardening may also cause discomfort due to back and knee pain, it is important to stay save by not overdo it. Stretching beforehand is helpful, as is taking the time to ensure that any open wounds are clean and covered.

Locally, the Big Daddy Garden Company, manufacturer of an ergonomic unique garden caddy, offers some important tips to keep you safe and healthy while enjoying the benefits of gardening.

  • Drink plenty of water and wear sunscreen.
  • Use proper form to protect your back when lifting heavy bags of dirt or mulch.
  • Use a wheeled cart to transport items across the lawn.
  • Choose the correct garden tool for each task, including adaptable tools for individuals with arthritis, and long-handed tools for people with back issues.
  • Sit when you are potting, planting, or weeding to relieve back strain, and use a padded cushion to protect your knees.
  • Take frequent breaks and know when to stop.


If you are an avid gardener and would like to garden in comfort, consider the Big Daddy Garden Caddy, invented in Buffalo by 2 fellow gardeners. It is a versatile multi-use yard cart with convenient seating to help reduce the strain of knee and back pain. The caddy enables you to haul up to 300 pounds, store, and spray 12 gallons of water, and carry tools effortlessly. Learn more at, and see what others are saying about Big Daddy at You may even recognize one of your friends! Interested? Call 716-866-1002.