According to the Royal Horticultural Society common garden tasks can be as effective as a session in the gym when it comes to burning calories. Just 30 minutes of digging can burn approximately 150 calories (the same as an average 23g bag of crisps), while pushing a lawnmower around can burn 165 and raking a lawn burns off 120 calories.
Not only is gardening an effective form of exercise, it also acts as a natural stress relief and therapy, helping us to stay in tune with nature and the seasons. From improving our immune system to encouraging us to live in the moment, everyday gardening tasks can have a surprisingly positive impact on our physical and mental health.
It doesn’t matter whether your garden is large or small, if you spend time out there tending your plants you will see real health benefits.
Miriam Fairhurst, product expert at GardenBuildingsDirect.co.uk says ‘Nothing beats breathing in fresh air and enjoying the great outdoors – even if it is just the humble patch of garden space at the back of your house.’
10 reasons why gardening is good for you
1. Studies have 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 too.
2. Just 30 minutes outside in the garden will lower your levels of cortisol, the stress hormone.
3. If it’s sunny outside you’ll also soak up vitamin D, which helps the body to absorb calcium and keeps your bones strong and your immune system healthy.
4. Caring for living things – plants included – gives us a sense of responsibility, which could be beneficial for those with mental health issues, as it gives a sense of purpose and worth.
5. A three- to four-hour gardening session can burn as many calories as an hour in the gym. This will help to release endorphins – the ‘happy hormone’ – which makes people feel satisfied and relaxed.
6. When you’re fully focused on the gardening task at hand – whether that’s repotting, chopping, weeding or watering – you won’t be worrying about bills, work, or the everyday stresses of life.
7. Gardening help us to live in the moment, aware of the changing seasons and the cycle of nature.
8. There’s nothing like a spot of heavy digging, drastic pruning or weeding to help vent negative feelings of anger and aggression. Not only is it free therapy, it will also improve the look of your garden.
9. Time spent in the garden helps to develop your sensory system. The wealth of colours, aromas and textures will hone your sight, smell and hearing reflexes – this makes time spent in the garden particularly valuable for young children as it helps develop their senses and imagination.
10. The health benefits from your garden will be even greater if you dedicate some of your plot to grow organic fruit and vegetables.
So there you have it, grab your gardening gloves, your spade and your secateurs and head out to the garden. It will do you the world of good.