Why gardening is good for you!
If you’re going to sit and talk to your flowers, at least do it properly! And that’s what we say to all our fellow green-fingered enthusiasts because for one – we don’t like doing things by halves and two – you have a lot to be thankful for when it comes to your garden and its amazing benefits.
Ever wondered why you feel an extra spring in your step after spending just a few minutes in your garden with a quick cup of tea? We did too! So we did a little delving to find out exactly why gardening is so good for your health and we are pleased to be able to tell you – that the advantages are plentiful! Gardening is a healthy hobby – make no mistake about that! With benefits on so many levels, it’s not surprising why so many of us want to spend more time in the great outdoors and there is nothing more rewarding than in your own surroundings. A space that you have designed all by yourself with nothing but those plants and accessories that make you smile the most. And rightly so! Your garden is for you to enjoy and no one else. Whether you grow to fill your tummy or grow to bring colour into your life, there are many ways we can be enhancing our physical, mental and emotional health through horticultural hobbies.
By understanding the relationship between our minds and nature itself, we are much more likely to be able to get that little bit more out of our garden, by designing a clever space that truly makes us feel proud and accomplished as people! Many studies have shown that gardening promotes relaxation and a strong sense of satisfaction, and those trials stem back to thousands of years ago believe it or not! Planting and propagation were trialed all that time ago as a way to sustaining life and whilst still a very valid reason today, further rewards are to be gained as we look deeper into the positives found within our gardens.
Let’s start with the physical benefits. Well… gardening is a stress reliever. A study conducted in 2010 in the Netherlands found that gardening was significantly more effective in relieving stress than reading, following a 30 session of both activities after a stressful task. That doesn’t come as a surprise to us – which would you prefer?! Gardening is also a great activity to keep us fit! Regular exercise in the garden comes in the shape of pruning, lifting and digging! It meets the UK’s recommended guidelines set for physical activity in older adults, helping to reduce the risk of obesity, heart disease and high blood pressure. Nutritionally, studies support the belief that those who grow food in their garden, have a more balanced diet containing higher levels of the body’s vital vitamins and minerals. Even better- a combination of nutrition and exercise can improve a person’s immunity!
For the mind, gardening has been proven to be a tonic for many mental health conditions. The calming effects of therapeutic gardens such as those part of the Horatio’s garden project have been well documented over the years, with quantitative longitudinal studies demonstrating evidence in their results that a patient’s well-being is significantly improved when staying in rooms with windows facing trees as opposed to a brick wall. A study which followed participants for 16 years shows that those aged between 60 and 70 years of age who regularly garden are at a 36% reduced risk of dementia than those who didn’t garden regularly. So time spent in and amongst nature has a healing effect – isn’t that a beautiful thought? A study published in 1984 found evidence that patients recovering from gall bladder surgery whose room looked out to a view of trees and plants had fewer health complaints and a shorter recovery time, taking less medication than those facing a brick wall. Evidence also supports that a more positive outlook on life is associated with those sharing strong gardening interests, helping to ward off mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression.
On a social scale, let’s not forget that gardening helps connect us with the community. Whether it be by chance that we are pottering around the garden when a neighbor passes by, or whether it be a gardening club that gives us that excuse to get out there and meet new people, gardening and growing are universal hobbies shared by many people from all walks of life, providing an ideal opportunity for interaction.
Gardening for the spirit is one of the least talked about, yet one of the most complicated ways in which the popular pastime benefits our health. Very rarely seen in text-book form, or written down for us to understand scientifically how it works, chemically the body can easily tune in with harmonious spaces, elevating the mood. Engaging with nature means that we naturally stop thinking. We stop worrying and obsessing about matters of life and subconsciously allow for an awakening of the senses, thus reducing stress.
So many elements of gardening are responsible for stimulating all five of the human body’s senses. The fragrant smell of herbaceous and floral plants stimulate our sense of smell and enlighten the senses, evoking a calm experience and one which can simultaneously be admired hand-in-hand with sight. The vibrant colour and abstract beauty of flowers and plants within the garden please us visually, forming some of the most captivating colour palettes seen on the planet! Blue, purple and white are calming colours, whilst warmer reds, oranges and yellows promote energy, motivation and positivity. Sound is also an important element associated with enjoying the garden. The rustling of leaves and the calling of birds are to name but a few of the beautiful sounds of the great outdoors. Garden is also a very tactile hobby. It allows us to enjoy the smooth, silky textures of petals or the cool damp earth that helps to ground us emotionally.
So there you have it! With so many positive aspects to time spent in the garden, the hobby is rather a personal journey. Depending on your mood, the time of year or your physical, mental or emotional needs of that particular time in life, the benefits of gardening are enjoyed in many different ways, varying from one person to the next!
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