5 Reasons Why Gardening Is Good for You
Enjoying time outdoors in nature can provide a source of joy in your life, and having your own little oasis of calm in the form of a garden is good for the soul. With National Gardening Week on the horizon, we look at how the benefits of gardening extend far beyond having a perfectly manicured lawn to make your neighbours envious.
1. Positively affects physical health
Caring for a garden is extremely rewarding, and the physical aspect of getting out and being active reaps many rewards.
If you’re wondering “is gardening exercise?”, then we have great news. Studies have shown that gardening encourages ‘non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT)’ which promotes everyday physical activity that modern life (hello, office workers!) lacks. If you’re spending all day cooped up indoors and are mostly sedentary, then some time pottering around the garden helps combat weight gain.
Research into the health benefits of gardening also shows that time spent in gardens and green spaces can be linked to long-term reductions of common health problems, including heart disease and cancer meaning gardening is not only great for your waistline, but it’s also good for your ticker too.
2. Improves mental health
The physical exercise gardening provides means you can help keep your body healthy, and it’s also an amazing way to keep your mental health in tip-top shape too. If you’ve ever thought tackling those pesky weeds was a great stress-reliever, then science is on your side too.
Studies have found that spending time in green spaces and gardens can help reduce mental health symptoms across a range of disorders. Across the UK, the NHS has been encouraging the use of “social prescriptions” to treat common mental health issues such as anxiety, depression and stress. As well as encouraging a sense of calm, there is also a sense of achievement to be found in cultivating living things and helping your garden grow.
3. Increases fruit and veg intake
The health benefits we’ve discussed so far around gardening can also work in tandem with increasing your fruit and veg intake, especially by growing your own produce in your garden. As well as being able to control the growing methods (and minimise pesticides or intervention), homegrown vegetables can also help save you money. If you have kids around too, growing vegetables or fruit at home is a great way to educate them on where their food comes from.
If you’re not sure where to start with your vegetable patch, there are plenty of handy videos to guide you. Leafy herbs are a great place to start, as these take up little room and grow profusely.
4. Grows community spirit
As well as being a lovely solo pursuit, research has also shown that gardening builds a sense of community and helps individuals feel part of a collective effort.
Gardening with others in a community garden has many benefits and a 2016 study revealed that allotment gardeners had significantly better self-esteem and general health than non-gardeners.
As well as community gardens, tackling your garden can help encourage neighbourly spirit, as was the case in the Glasgow tenement flat where neighbours bonded over neglected land.
5. Great for the planet
As well as being good for our own mind, body, and soul, gardening is also great for the planet. If you choose to grow your own veggies as mentioned before, you can cut your carbon footprint. Not only that, but growing native plants for your garden is beneficial to the ecosystem in your area and is the best way to ensure big, beautiful blooms.
If you’re a fan of David Attenborough (who isn’t?!) then you’ve probably heard his plight to help save the world’s bees. The RSPB has said that while leaving sugar water out for tired bees is a quick fix, you can do your part by creating a bee-friendly garden. For example, opt for a green living roof on your garden room as this provides a good forage source for bees. For the rest of your garden, choose plants rich in pollen and nectar, or make a bee nest to help create a haven for our friends, the bumblebees. It’s also a great excuse to avoid weeding because weeds actually provide a service to local wildlife. No weeding, and a fauna-friendly garden? It’s a winner.