What are the key benefits of gardening?
Gardening can provide you with a variety of fruits and vegetables to feed your family. It also gets you outdoors in the fresh air and sunshine, helping your body produce much-needed vitamin D. In addition, gardening gets you moving, providing exercise and allowing you to connect socially with other gardeners. It is also a good boost for your mental health.
A systematic review examined the impact of gardens and outdoor spaces on the mental and physical well-being of people with dementia. The research suggested that garden exposure leads to decreased levels of agitation and anxiety among patients. Garden exposure can be as simple as watering plants, walking through a garden, or sitting in one. Research even goes further to prove that gardening can have an effect on our stress levels.
Researchers in the Netherlands have found that gardening is one of the most potent stress-relieving activities around. In their trial, two groups of people were asked to complete a stressful task. One group was instructed to garden for half an hour, while the other group was asked to read indoors for the same length of time. Afterward, the gardening group reported a greater improvement in mood. Tests also revealed they had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol compared to those who tried to relax by quiet reading.
According to a survey by Gardeners’ World magazine, 80% of gardeners reported being “happy” and satisfied with their lives, compared to 67% of non-gardeners. Perhaps it’s no coincidence that gardeners are happier.