Why Is Gardening Good For Me? - Britt's Superfoods

Why Is Gardening Good For Me?

Amidst the hustle and bustle of city life and the clinical atmosphere of hospitals, there exists a haven where healing thrives amidst lush greenery. Gardening therapy, often overlooked in traditional medical practices, is now emerging as a potent force in nurturing holistic well-being – physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Whilst research has shown the positive benefits of simply being outside, with spring painting the world in vibrant hues  there's no more opportune moment to delve into the profound possibilities of gardening therapy. 

Exploring Gardening Therapy

Gardening therapy taps into the deep connection between humans and nature to promote healing and wellness. It is more than mere outdoor activity; it entails active engagement in nurturing plants, fostering green spaces, and reaping the rewards of one's efforts. Whether it involves planting seeds, tending to flowers, or harvesting produce, every aspect of gardening therapy holds therapeutic benefits.

Physical Health Benefits

Engaging in gardening is not just about cultivating plants; it's a physical activity that can burn anywhere from 200 to 500 calories per hour, aiding in weight management and reducing the risk of obesity. Surprisingly, gardening ranks second only to weight training in its effectiveness in increasing bone density, making it an excellent choice for maintaining skeletal health.

Moreover, growing your own vegetables not only provides access to fresh produce but also supports a nutritious eating regimen. Research conducted by the American Heart Association suggests that diets rich in plant-based foods and low in animal products may contribute to a decreased risk of cardiovascular diseases, with a notable 32% lower risk observed. 

In addressing the UK's obesity concerns, the NHS emphasises the importance of consuming fruits and vegetables to maintain a healthy weight. Despite this recommendation, a mere 28% of adults were consuming the recommended five portions of fruits and vegetables daily in 2018.

By engaging in gardening, individuals can not only reap the nutritional benefits of fresh produce but also contribute to reducing plastic packaging and food waste. The 'grow your own' phenomenon not only yields an abundance of fruits and vegetables but also promotes sustainability and environmental consciousness and according to research weight loss.  

Mental Well-being

The benefits of gardening extend far beyond physical exercise. Studies have shown significant reductions in depression and anxiety among individuals who engage in gardening activities. 

In 2021, the RHS released research that revealed those who garden every day have wellbeing scores 6.6% higher(4) and stress levels 4.2% lower than people who don’t garden at all. Surveying more than 6000 people the research showed a significant association between gardening more frequently and improvements in wellbeing, perceived stress and physical activity.

Gardening fosters social connections, independence, and cognitive function. It provides a sense of purpose and accomplishment, contributing to overall mental well-being. Access to green spaces has been linked to lower levels of mental distress, highlighting the therapeutic potential of nature in promoting mental health.

An increasing number of GPs are prescribing gardening not only for rehabilitation but also as a preventative mechanism. In Lambeth, London, 13 GPs have opened community gardens with positive effects.

Specialised Therapeutic Applications

Gardening therapy holds promise in various specialised contexts. It offers non-pharmacological support for individuals with dementia, helping improve attention, reduce stress, and enhance sleep patterns. In correctional facilities, gardening has been shown to reduce hostility and depression among inmates with a history of substance abuse, offering them a sense of purpose and self-control.  

Embracing Spring's Renewal

As spring breathes new life into the world with its vibrant colours and gentle breezes, it beckons us to embark on a journey of healing through gardening therapy. Whether we find ourselves planting seeds in a hospital garden or tending to plants in our own backyard, the act of nurturing life holds profound therapeutic potential.

In a world where stress and anxiety often overshadow our well-being, gardening offers a sanctuary of serenity and renewal. As we immerse ourselves in the rhythm of gardening, may we find solace, strength, and the healing touch of nature's embrace amidst the blossoms and the breeze.

These transformative endeavours are positively impacting the lives of countless individuals across the nation, serving as a testament to the benefits that gardens and gardening offer to the mind, body, and spirit. There has never been a more opportune moment to embrace gardening as a means of nurturing holistic well-being. So, seize the opportunity, pick up that trowel, and embark on a journey of growth and renewal.

 

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