The Health Benefits of Gardening

Gardening has scientifically been proven to be good for body, mind and soil!

Many people have been focusing on their gardens during coronavirus lockdowns, as restrictions have meant most people are spending more time at home. An upside of this is that recent garden studies have gotten the go-ahead to research what exactly gardening does for us.

Among them is a study that showcases regular gardening can improve well-being and positively impact the participant as significantly as vigorous exercise like cycling or running.

People who garden every day have wellbeing scores 6.6% higher and stress levels 4.2% lower than those who do not garden at all, the recent investigation shows.
Or to summarise it more neatly, gardening just two to three times a week, leads to measurably better well-being and lower stress levels according to this paper.

The lead author of this study Dr Lauriane Chalmin-Pui said: “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 comparable to undertaking regular, vigorous exercise”.

Despite the significant benefits, the prospect of improving health was not the main motivator to garden – but rather the simple pleasure of plant care itself as revealed by the participants in the study.

Conducted by the RHS in collaboration with the University of Sheffield and the University of Virginia and later published in the journal “Cities”, the study also found that gardening was as expected, linked with greater physical activity than a non-gardening participant. Acknowledging that gardening is good for both body and mind.

Some of the notable Dr’s that have participated in the study have summarised the benefits, saying: “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 likelihood of getting hooked to gardening is also high and the good news is that from a mental health perspective – you can’t ‘overdose’ on gardening”.
“We hope all the millions of new gardeners during this time will be getting their daily doses of gardening and feeling all the better for it.”

The research also looked into why residents engaged in gardening – with a sample base of 5,766 gardeners and 249 non-gardeners responding to a survey distributed electronically within the UK.

It revealed that 1 in 10 people garden because of the pleasure and enjoyment they get from it. Just under 30% said they garden for the health benefits, while 1 in 5 said wellbeing is the reason they garden.
And around 15% of gardeners said it makes them feel calm and relaxed.

Co-author of the study Dr Ross Cameron, of the University of Sheffield, said: “This research provides further empirical data to support the value of gardening and gardens for mental restoration and promoting a 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 invariably helps.”

The outdoor hobby has also been shown to boost mental health, with those with health problems stating that gardening eased episodes of depression (13%), boosted energy levels (12%) and reduced stress (16%).

The research is released at the start of National Gardening Week, and the accredited Dr’s are calling on the nation to get their daily dose of “Vitamin G”.

So what are you waiting for? Get into your garden & enjoy all the benefits. If you are unsure what to do, read our blog on 10 Things To Do In The Garden During Lockdown