A new study reveals a significant association between gardening more frequently and improvements in wellbeing, perceived stress and physical activity.
The study from Britain’s Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) surveyed more than 6,000 people, and results indicate that those who garden every day have wellbeing scores 6.6% higher and stress levels 4.2% lower than people who don’t garden at all.
RHS Wellbeing Fellow and lead author, Dr Lauriane Chalmin-Pui says; “This is the first time the ‘dose response’ to gardening has been tested and the evidence overwhelmingly suggests that the more frequently you garden—the greater the health benefits.
“In fact gardening every day has the same positive impact on wellbeing as undertaking regular vigorous exercise like cycling or running.
“When gardening, our brains are pleasantly distracted by nature around us. This shifts our focus away from ourselves and our stresses, thereby restoring our minds and reducing negative feelings.”
Respondents who gardened 2-3 times a week had a 4.1% higher wellbeing score and 2.4% lower stress levels compared to people who don’t garden at all. However, gardening fewer than 3 times a month has less of a positive impact.
The study, conducted by the RHS in collaboration with the University of Sheffield and the University of Virginia, and published in Cities journal, found that more frequent gardening was also linked with greater physical activity supporting the notion that gardening is good for both body and mind.
Dr Chalmin-Pui adds; “Gardening is like effortless exercise because it doesn’t feel as strenuous as going to the gym, for example, but we can expend similar amounts of energy.
“Most people say they garden for pleasure and enjoyment so the possibility of getting hooked on gardening is also high and the Good News is that from a mental health perspective—you can’t ‘over-dose’ on gardening!
‘Pleasure and Enjoyment’ is the reason why 6 in 10 people garden. Nearly a third say they garden for the ‘health benefits’; 1 in 5 say ‘wellbeing’ is the reason they garden, and 15% say it makes them feel calm and relaxed.
Co-author, Dr Ross Cameron of the University of Sheffield, commented: “This research provides further empirical data to support the value of gardening and gardens for mental restoration and ‘promoting calmness of mind’.
“We also found a greater proportion of plants in the garden was linked with greater wellbeing, suggesting even just viewing ‘green’ gardens may help.”
It was not just able gardeners who benefited. Those with health problems stated gardening eased episodes of depression (13%), boosted energy levels (12%), and reduced stress (16%).
The report adds to a mountain of evidence showing the positive health benefits of gardening. One study from Harvard University found that calories burnt from 30 minutes of gardening is comparable to playing a social game badminton, volleyball, or practicing yoga.
Last year, an RHS science paper found that adding a few plants to a bare front garden can make you feel happier, more relaxed and has the same impact as eight mindfulness sessions every week.
So if you can? It certainly sounds like it’s time to get your Vitamin ‘G’ on.
So gardening is a great asset to Health and Happiness hey? I'm sure those of you who do can relate with the benefits mentioned in this article.
It has been an observation of mine through the years that people who engage in Gardening, Walking, Exercise or who spend time in the Parks are calmer in temperament, and people who live in the Beach, Hills or Country areas are noticeably emotionally balanced. Most of us live in the city or suburbs and could do with one or more of the practices mentioned here.
In recent times, different articles and INFO keep surfacing on these topics in my Natural Health Research and also when looking for Interesting Articles to place in my Blog on Ours Australia. Things like even those who sit outside in their garden, a park or nature setting a few times each week benefit. And a total of 120 minutes a week of such ourdoor exposure is ideal (has the most benefit). All this is well documented.
We spend far too much time indoors and far too much time on TV and Tech. Our brain and our mind is saying "let me breath, give me some space" we crowd so much in. And so are our emotions - we are not made to handle all that. Is it any wonder our faculties aren't what they should be and our health is affected mentally, physically or emotionally? Maybe all three.
Gardening is a good way to make a break away from the Modern Lifestyle that affects most of us. And 2 or 3 times a week at-least, gives us pleasant intervals hey? Try it and See!
Well wishes to all who read this.