A key theme of posts on our Facebook Page this week has been the link between gardening and good health. The theme began with the release of a report from the UK’s Gardener’s World magazine on the benefits — both mental and physical — of getting outdoors in the garden. While heavily UK-centric, it would appear that the findings of the study of 1500 adults living in the UK would apply to countries around the world.
The study found that gardeners are less likely to experience depression and 80 percent of those who garden regularly felt happy with their lives. This compared to only 67 percent of those who class themselves as non-gardeners.
The report produced a flurry of media articles and Gardeners’ World editor Lucy Hall was quoted in one article by the UK’s Daily Mail as saying the gardening fraternity had “… long suspected it, but our research means we can definitely say gardening makes you happy.”
So what is exactly the link between gardening and good health? We thought we’d take a common sense approach — combining feedback from our Evergreen Growers Facebook Page readers thoughts with scientific facts — to get a better picture of the benefits of gardening on both physical and mental health.
Getting out in the fresh air
This appears obvious. Getting out into the outdoors and fresh air and working with your hands must be healthy. Gardening can help work out the stress and tension of the week, therefore leaving you happier. However while sunlight is healthy, we emphasize that adequate protection (in the form of a big hat and sunscreen) is needed so as not to overdo exposure to the sun’s rays!
Again common sense. Many scientists recommend daily exercise not just to obtain a higher fitness level, but also to improve mental health. Many studies now suggest exercise to be an important part of a daily regime. While expert opinion does vary on the amount of exercise required (here’s the World Health Organisation’s recommendations), what better way to get your exercise requirements than in your own garden?
Working with family and friends
Of course working in your garden may not be just a solitary exercise. Enjoying the company of family and friends is also an important part of the activity. Opinion varies, but the gardeners I speak to tend to greatly enjoy the fellowship of friends and family in the garden. The social side of gardening is also important in another way. It offers the chance to learn gardening tips from one’s elders and more experienced fellow gardeners, as well as the chance to pass on your own tips to younger folk.
Rejoicing in the garden
Satisfaction in the garden is possibly the crowning point for many gardeners. Even a small job such as planting bare-rooted ornamentals or setting up a new flower or plant bed can result in an immense sense of achievement and happiness. Rejoicing in the making of a garden (always a work in progress) can be satisfying and therefore therapeutic.
So not only do gardeners enjoy getting out in the fresh air and working in the garden but it is now confirmed that it is very beneficial for both physical and mental health.
Good gardening and good health gardeners!