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Gardening is a popular hobby worldwide for people of all ages, with lovethegarden estimating that around 27 million Brits partake in the pastime! From helping to reduce stress to perhaps even being the secret to a longer life, we take a look at some of the many health and well-being benefits of gardening.
Mowing, raking or digging might not be the first things that spring to mind when you think of a workout, but gardening can actually be a very effective form of low intensity exercise that works the entire body. The activities associated with gardening can help to increase overall muscle strength, balance, flexibility and help to keep the heart healthy. The tasks you do in the garden can also burn some serious calories, with weeding burning up to 400 calories an hour!
The benefits of gardening go far beyond just our physical health. Whether it’s moving around, getting outside in the fresh air, or having something to care for and nurture, there’s a number of reasons why gardening can be hugely beneficial for mental health too. It offers a real sense of purpose and achievement, both which contribute to our mental wellbeing. A Dutch Study asked participants to complete a stressful task, then split them into two different groups. One group read inside and the other group went outside and gardened for 30 minutes. While the reading group felt their mood worsened during the experiment, the gardeners reported lower levels of stress and also felt their mood improve!
Many people who enjoy gardening go on to start growing their own fruits and vegetables, contributing to the improvement of diets and nutrition. Incorporating more organic, homegrown foods into your diet ensures you’re eating produce free from pesticides, fertilisers and other additives. Food from your garden is fresher, more nutrient rich and cheaper too!
Spending time in the garden is a very popular past time among many of the world’s oldest people, and there’s now evidence to suggest that gardening could be contributing to their longevity due to the many health and wellbeing benefits associated with it. A recent study found that light exercise such as gardening could help older people, especially men, live longer!
Taking part in gardening may be a fantastic way to help reduce the risk of developing dementia in later life, with one study even finding that gardening can lower risk of developing the disease by 36%. The contact with nature, physical activity and sensory stimulation all contribute to maintaining cognitive function, helping to keep conditions such as dementia at bay.
Want to know more about the benefits of gardening, check out this post by Garden Benches.