Greta Thunberg, climate change, Australian wildfires, deforestation…everywhere you look, the global environment is dominating the news — often in worrying ways. And if it’s not the environment we’re being warned about, it’s our health; we’re forever being advised to keep fit, to eat healthily, avoid stress, save the planet. It’s a big ask!
But one surprisingly simple way to benefit both yourself and the environment is gardening. You don’t need to be an expert gardener, a Sir David Attenborough, or even an Alan Titchmarsh to enjoy the many benefits of gardening that we will reveal in a moment, All it takes is a few basic garden tools, a little know-how, and you’re away!
So if you’re looking to do your bit for the environment or get some exercise — even if you just want to tame that unruly patch of grass behind your house — check out our top ten reasons on the importance of gardening and why you should start, then go get those fingers green!
Reduces Stress & Anxiety
Studies have shown that even just half-hour spent gardening can help lower cortisol levels.
Cortisol is the body’s stress hormone so having a little less of it in our bodies can only be a good thing.
Becoming immersed in;
- Digging, to replace garden turf
- Sowing seeds for the new season
- Planting your favourite spring flowers
- Pruning overgrown stems
Whatever else needs doing can also be a good way of promoting mindfulness, of living in the moment, helping with mental health and forgetting about day-to-day worries.
Replaces Going to the Gym
Is gardening good exercise? In short Yes. Gardening may generally be seen as a sedentary pursuit for older generations, but mowing the lawn, digging, planting, and handling a wheelbarrow are all excellent ways to burn a few calories and keep your heart in good condition. The American National Institutes of Health have suggested that doing between 30-45 minutes of gardening three to five times per week in nature’s gym is as good as working out in a ‘proper’ gym.
Helps Reduce Risk of Stroke & Heart Attack
There are a whole host of diseases and health risks that gardening can help lower the risk of. Research has shown that getting out and active in your garden can reduce the risk of stroke by up to 30%; it can lower the risk of heart attacks by 12% as well.
It’s Good for Bone Health
Something else that getting into gardening can minimise is the risk of osteoporosis, a condition that leads to weaker bones. Regularly using your hands, arms, and legs as you tend to your garden will not only give you a good workout, it’ll keep your bones stronger for longer.
Reconnects You to Nature
If you live in a city or densely-populated town, you might not get to see much nature, let alone have the chance to get out and amongst it. This is where gardening can help. Having a natural space where you can surround yourself with grass, flowers, and earth instead of concrete and coffee shops can help you bond with our world in its most beautiful and elemental form.
It’s Very Satisfying
It always feels good to create something from scratch by yourself. Millions of people spend their spare time flexing their creative muscle by baking, knitting, and gardening. Your garden is yours to design and brings to life.
Gardening can help grow a lot of things, including senses of satisfaction, purpose, pride, and responsibility. Not only are you taking a barren space and fill it with colourful life you’re also responsible for the upkeep of that life.
Learn How to Be More Patient
Whatever you choose to grow won’t grow overnight. But that’s part of the appeal. In such a fast-paced society as ours, having your own space where you can both watch nature at work and witness your hard work come to fruition can be a priceless experience.
Good Source of Vitamin D
Getting out in the great outdoors has one big natural benefit for our bodies: vitamin D.
We get it from the sun and, as well as being another way to help prevent osteoporosis, it can help keep everything from our teeth to our immune system and lungs working well. As vitamin D deficiency has been linked to sleep problems, getting it from doing some gardening can also assist in getting a good night’s rest.
It Helps the Environment
Yes, you’re just one person on a planet of billions, but your gardening can still bring big benefits to your local environment. How? Well, reducing air pollution for a start. Plants breathe in carbon dioxide and turn it into oxygen. The more plants, shrubs, bushes and trees you have, the cleaner the air around you.
You can also help maintain your local ecosystem. Plants, trees, and vegetation will attract and sustain wildlife, from birds to earthworms. You may have read that honeybees are threatened with extinction — and that without them to pollinate plants, the world’s food supply would be in serious trouble.
You don’t have to start beekeeping in your back yard, but planting a few pollen-and-nectar-rich plants can attract honeybees, helping them to survive. If you live in a loud, built-up area filled with traffic noise, schools, and the like, bushes and trees can help form a noise barrier, making your house a quieter, more relaxed place to be.
It Helps Add Value to Your House
Having a good-looking garden teeming with life and colour is going to be a bigger selling point than an unkempt patch of land. Depending on where you live, a well-kept garden can add up to £2500 to your property’s value, generally offering a three or fourfold return on your investment.
So there you have it: ten surprisingly enormous benefits just from pottering around in your garden.