UK homeowners have been encouraged to spend more time in the garden this spring and summer to improve both mental and physical health.
Garden gurus at GardenBuildingsDirect.co.uk have revealed just how spending more time outside can positively impact overall wellbeing.
Reports have recognised the benefit gardening can have on health – from reducing stress and improving immune systems to bettering brain health.
Gardening also provides a low intensity workout to help burn off extra calories.
A spokesperson from GardenBuildingsDirect.co.uk said: “Gardening is incredibly important both for the environment but also for general wellbeing - it has amazing health benefits.
“Homeowners may be aware of the physical benefits gardening can bring in the form of exercise, but the effect on mental health can be hugely beneficial too.
“Something as simple as digging up weeds and planting fruits can lead to a positive change in lifestyle and should be encouraged for everyone.”
1. Gym alternative: Completing simple tasks in the garden such as raking leaves, trimming hedges and mowing the lawn can burn up to 200 calories, so is perfect for those who prefer a low intensity workout. Plus, it leaves out the expense of a gym membership.
2. Increases immunity: Spending more time outside in the sun increases the Vitamin D intake, in turn helping the body to absorb more calcium. Calcium keeps bones strong and immune systems healthy. Vitamin D deficiency is a widespread issue across the UK with research showing 1 in 5 are Vitamin D deficient.
3. Hold responsibility: Having a living thing to care for gives a sense of responsibility which could be beneficial for people suffering with mental health issues, as it provides purpose and a sense of worth.
4. Brain health: Repetitive actions such as weeding or planting can have a calming effect on the mind as it allows the brain to be active, without causing strain. Researchers have also found that gardening can decrease the risk of future dementia by 36% for those over 60. As the body remains active it is imperative for the brain to be also.
5. Vent emotions: Transferring pent-up emotions to the medium of gardening can turn negative feelings into something positive. Bad day at work? Grab a shovel and get digging. Or better yet, pick up the garden shears and take it out on those brambles hiding in the hedge. The great thing about destructiveness in the garden is that it's also connected to renewal and growth – if you don't cut back the plants, your space will be swamped by them, so hack away!
6. Cleaner diet: By planting vegetables, fruit and herbs, you’ll be encouraged to eat healthier – and a nutritious diet is the foundation for overall wellbeing. Your gut will benefit from eating foods that are higher in nutrients than the ones that may have travelled hundreds of miles to get to your local supermarket and on your plate.
7. De-stress: A study by researchers in the Netherlands found that gardening may reduce the level of the stress hormone cortisol in the brain. High levels of cortisol can lead to interference with learning and memory. Taking time away from screens and being focused on a task that is separate from work can provide a safe haven and increase productivity.