Gardens are not just great for the environment and wildlife, but for people too!
Gardening has historically been connected to science and medicine, providing both a source of food and remedies to treat common ailments. But what about the benefits of gardening itself? An increasing body of research reveals that gardens have a positive impact on our health and wellbeing.
Does Gardening Lower our Stress Levels?
It is increasingly acknowledged that gardens and green spaces have a positive effect on our physical, social and mental health.
In 2021, the RHS revealed that those who garden every day have better wellbeing and lower stress than those who do not garden at all. Surveying over 6,000 people, the research showed a significant association between gardening more frequently and improvements in wellbeing, perceived stress and physical activity.
Gardening as a Form of Exercise
Physical exercise is essential to living a healthy and fulfilling life. It has been medically proven that people who do regular physical activity have up to a 35% lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke.
Physical and mental illnesses associated with our increasingly sedentary urban lifestyles have a growing economic and social cost.
Gardening plays a huge role in many people’s physical exercise journeys.
The number of calories burnt from half an hour of gardening is comparable to playing badminton, volleyball or practising yoga for an equal amount of time.
Gardeners also spend more time outside, which has a positive impact on their mental health.
Gardening Improves Mental Health
The benefits of being in the garden run far deeper than just exercise. Gardening results in a significant reduction in depression and anxiety levels and improves social functioning. It can also help to maintain independence and prevent cognitive decline.
An increasing number of GPs are prescribing gardening not only for rehabilitation but also as a preventative mechanism. Horticultural therapy can be a valuable resource for many people with physical and mental health issues.
Research from 2014 suggests that those living near to green spaces reported less mental distress, regardless of income, education and employment. Illnesses including diabetes, asthma, migraines, anxiety ad depression are all reduced in people who live within half a mile of green spaces.
Gardening plays a central role in improving our nation’s mental and physical health and wellbeing. There has never been a better time to get growing!