Get out in the garden to boost your health

Gardening can be a great therapy, having a surprisingly positive impact on physical and mental health. It’s good exercise, and provides an opportunity to release anger or frustration in a safe way.

Here are ten reasons why gardening is good for health and wellbeing:

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Stress reliefIn a study conducted in the Netherlands, two groups of students were told to either read indoors or in the garden for thirty minutes after completing a stressful task. Those that took to the garden exhibited lower levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, than those that stayed inside.

Flower powerIn our increasingly urbanised and technologically driven world, being surrounded by flowers and reconnecting with nature is a natural way of moderating moods. Studies found that spending time in green spaces helps people to relax, and it has an immediate impact on happiness and a long term positive effect on moods.

Immune systemWhile you’re outdoors in the sun, you’ll also soak up vitamin D, which helps the body absorb calcium. Calcium helps keep your bones strong and your immune system healthy.

ResponsibilityHaving a living thing to care for gives us a responsibility, which could be beneficial for people suffering with mental health issues, as it gives purpose and a sense of worth.

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ExerciseA three to four-hour gardening session can burn as many calories as an hour at the gym! This will help to release endorphins – the ‘happy hormone’ – which makes people feel satisfied and relaxed.

Natural therapyWhen you mind is focused on the task at hand – whether that’s repotting, chopping, weeding or watering – you won’t be worrying about bills, work, etc..

Live in the momentBeing in and around nature helps us to focus on the ‘now’. You may have a looming deadline at work, but the startling beauty of a blooming peony will only be there to appreciate for a short time, so make the most of it.

Vent anger and aggressionSome of the therapeutic power of gardening is that it allows us to unleash our aggression as well as providing an opportunity to nurture. 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.

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CommunicationIf you spend time in the garden, you can develop your sensory system – all the colours, aromas and textures can develop your sight, smell, touch and hearing reflexes. This makes gardening especially suitable for young children.

OrganicIf you use your garden to grow and harvest fresh fruit, herbs and vegetables, 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 plate.

A spokesperson for said: “The benefits of gardening are countless, but we’ve picked out the best ones to get people outside when the weather picks up this spring.”

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