Definition: "An ergogenic aid is any substance or phenomenon that enhances performance "
Gardening makes you healthier
Your mental and physical health improves incrementally when you start gardening. And we don't say that lightly. We base this on an inspiring meta-study that appeared in Preventive Medicine Reports in 2017.
Most studies were trials in which researchers had one group of subjects garden and another group did not. Soga also found a number of observational studies that compared the health of a group of gardeners with a group of people without green fingers. Studies of the first type are usually more significant than studies of the second type.
Not all studies found statistically significant associations, but Soga's sum of all outcomes did.
Click on the figure below for a larger version.
A second possible explanation, which by the way does not exclude the first, is that gardeners eat healthier because of their garden. A garden supplies fresh vegetables, fruit and herbs, which can greatly improve the quality of the diet. This is especially true if the yield of a garden does not contain pesticide residues.
We ourselves, unimpeded by relevant expertise, are happy to put forward our own theory. It's only relevant to the mental effects of gardening, but still. In a way we don't fully understand, gardening increases the activity of the 'brain growth hormone' BDNF.
"The results presented here suggest that gardening can improve physical, psychological, and social health, which can, from a long-term perspective, alleviate and prevent various health issues facing today's society."
"We therefore suggest that government and health organizations should consider gardening as a beneficial health intervention and encourage people to participate in regular exercise in gardens."