Focus on mental health: great reasons to take up gardening

Whilst gardening isn’t often something closely associated with structured exercise, it is an activity that, for quite some time, has been considered beneficial for our mental and physical health.

Sounds like a win-win situation – but how good really is gardening for us?

Let’s take a look…

What science has to say on the subject matter:

We’ve compiled all the current evidence we have on the positive links between gardening and health so far and this is what we know:

  • The biggest outcomes were found in those who were advised to take up gardening as a form of therapy – this is known as social prescribing.
  • The biggest improvements were seen in mental health, rather than physical health.
  • Many patients reported immediate improvements in anxiety, depression, stress and life satisfaction, with one study demonstrating improvements in depressive mood after just a couple of hours gardening.
  • Another study that found even after the structured gardening therapy had finished, the individuals continued to see benefits in mental and physical health in the three months following their horticultural treatment.
  • Population studies found that gardeners tended to be lighter, fitter and have better mental health than non-gardeners – likely down to higher step counts, more frequent activity and the focus of having a project or hobby to concentrate on as an escape from life stressors.

Why gardening is so blooming good for you!

When it comes to the benefits of gardening for our physical and mental health, these are the pick of the bunch:

  • It gets your body moving and your blood pumping.

  • You burn more energy and challenge your heart rate for improved cardiovascular health.

  • You can soak up the benefits of being in the great outdoors, such as restorative properties for mental wellness like reduced levels of stress and anxiety, simply from looking at nature.

  • Provides a social opportunity to interact with others reinforcing community ties and friendships.

Gardening includes growing edible plants, fruit and vegetables, all of which contribute to a healthier diet with fewer chemicals and a smaller carbon footprint.

Words of wisdom:

“We might think we are nurturing our garden, but of course it’s our garden that is really nurturing us.” – Jenny Uglow