Science largely agrees in 2018: being busy outdoors is good for people. A research report from the British National Health Service (NHS) shows that this also applies to hobby gardening. A scientific study conducted by the British universities of Westminster and Essex, for example, proves that spending just 30 minutes a week in the garden already has a positive effect on your mental health. We show you what the most important health benefits of gardening are and why this hobby has a beneficial effect on body and mind.
Nature does us good
Although many of us today have concrete city jungles at home and spend a lot of time behind screens, we are still biologically programmed to enjoy beautiful landscapes, vistas and flowers and bees. Research has shown that being outside in a green environment contributes in various ways to the health and mental well-being of people.
- Being active in nature reduces stress and is therefore a good remedy for stress-related complaints such as irritability, restlessness and heart complaints. Moreover, it stimulates creativity, probably one of the reasons why nature has always been a rich source of inspiration for poets and writers.
- The chance that people keep moving sustainably is increasing in a green environment. This prevents problems such as obesity or a rapidly declining mobility in the elderly.
- Being active in the greenery often stimulates personal development and purpose.
Gardening and health benefits
Gardening is one of the nicest ways to be outdoors. Enjoying your self-planted and steadily growing plants, being actively involved in designing the garden according to your wishes, it is a dynamic process of creation and growth that gives satisfaction. In the following sections we list the most important concrete health benefits of gardening for you.
Relieve stress with gardening
Several studies have shown that being active in the garden after a busy day at the office greatly reduces the amount of cortisol (a stress hormone). This also makes the immune system stronger, reducing the risk of diseases and nasty ailments. Regular exposure to sand, plants and other natural elements reinforces the immune system even more.
Gardening is also good for the body. Especially if you have a large garden, the combination of pruning, mowing the grass, digging, planting plants and watering, weeding and removing the garden waste guarantees a good workout. Moreover, it is an activity that people easily maintain because they enjoy it. This is partly because gardening is varied work and is therefore much less monotonous than completing a fixed program at the gym. According to sports scientists, three hours of moderately intensive gardening is equivalent to one hour of buffalo at the gym. Certainly for older people, gardening is a pleasant, not overly heavy way of staying in good condition and keeping the limbs and muscles flexible, strong and flexible.
Gardening against depression
Gardening also helps against depression. It increases the production of the happiness hormone serotonin, one of the reasons why various mental disorders are treated by horticultural therapy. Whether it is the visual appeal and refreshing scent of flowering plants, the interaction between plants and pollinators, the high light levels of a sun-drenched garden (that cannot be imitated indoors) or the satisfied feeling that comes with growing your own food, being busy in the garden stimulates the senses and stimulates feelings such as trust and satisfaction.
Garden lovers eat healthier
The dietary pattern is also often positively influenced by gardening activities. People who garden, especially if they also have their own vegetable or allotment garden, usually eat healthier food than their peers who spend little time in the garden and outdoors. For example, gardeners eat more fruit and fresh vegetables on average. In addition, they also mainly receive food that is pure nature because it is not sprayed with chemicals.
Gardening against dementia
Gardening is also good brain food. Studies on the prevention of dementia, for example, show that daily or regular gardening reduces the risk of dementia considerably (by 36 to 47 percent). The reason: gardening stimulates learning, addresses the problem-solving capacity of the brain and stimulates sensory awareness. This cumulative effect on various brain functions makes gardening an effective form of brain nutrition.
We get most of our vitamins from food. However, this does not apply to vitamin D. This vitamin type is mainly supplied by the sun. Vitamin D is, among other things, a weapon against physical disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis and certain forms of cancer. Because gardening brings you out (and usually in good weather), you can take full advantage of the generously supplied doses of vitamin D. Make sure that you lubricate well or wear covering clothing at a very high sun intensity. Too much exposure to UV light increases the risk of skin cancer.