New Study Finds That Gardening Just Twice a Week Could Improve Your Overall Wellbeing And Lessen Stress
A recent study has shown that there is a vital link between gardening more often and considerable improvements in one’s wellbeing, physical activity, and otherwise the usual stress of everyday life.
The study was conducted by individuals from the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) in Britain. Their research included over 6,000 participants whose results showed that people that garden every day have a 6.6% higher wellbeing score, as well as lower stress levels by 4.2% than people that don’t bother to do any gardening at all.
Lead author of the study, and RHS Wellbeing Fellow, Dr. Lauriane Chalmin-Pui explains, “This is the first time the ‘dose response’ to gardening has been tested and the evidence overwhelmingly suggests that the more frequently you garden – the greater the health benefits. In fact, gardening every day has the same positive impact on wellbeing than undertaking regular, vigorous exercise like cycling or running.”
She adds, “When gardening, our brains are pleasantly distracted by nature around us. This shifts our focus away from ourselves and our stresses, thereby restoring our minds and reducing negative feelings.”
The study found that participants that gardened at least 2 to 3 times a week showed a 4.1% higher wellbeing score, as well as 2.4% lower stress levels than those individuals that do not garden at all. Yet, they also found that gardening less than 3 times a month, there is a much less positive impression or effect.
Published in Cities journal, the study, which was coordinated by the RHS alongside the University of Sheffield and the University of Virginia, had results that saw how more constant gardening was linked to better overall health and greater physical activity. What this demonstrates is that gardening has a significant link with a healthy body and mind.
According to Dr. Chalmin-Pui, “Gardening is like effortless exercise because it doesn’t feel as strenuous as going to the gym, for example, but we can expend similar amounts of energy. Most people say they garden for pleasure and enjoyment so the likelihood of getting hooked to gardening is also high and the good news is that from a mental health perspective – you can’t ‘over-dose’ on gardening!”
When asked why they garden, at least 6 in 10 of the participants share that it’s for ‘pleasure and enjoyment,’ while almost one-third explain that they like to garden for ‘health benefits.’ Another 1 in 5 share that they garden for their ‘wellbeing,’ while another 15% explain that it makes them feel ‘calm and relaxed.’
Dr. Ross Cameron of the University of Sheffield and co-author of the study iterated, “This research provides further empirical data to support the value of gardening and gardens for mental restoration and ‘promoting a calmness of mind’.”
Dr. Cameron went on to explain, “We also found a greater proportion of plants in the garden was linked with greater wellbeing, suggesting even just viewing ‘green’ gardens may help.”
Meanwhile, the study also found that gardeners weren’t the only ones who benefit from gardening. Other people that suffer from certain health problems also shared that they had lessened ‘episodes of depression (13%), boosted energy levels (12%), and reduced stress (16%).’
In addition, the report also shares that there is loads of evidence that have proven the many positive health benefits to be had from gardening. In fact, one particular study from Harvard University even discovered that the number of calories shed during a 30-minute gardening session is tantamount to playing such social games as volleyball and badminton, or possibly doing yoga.
There was also another paper published just last year by RHS Science that found how adding plants to an otherwise empty front garden can also make people feel happier and more relaxed, and it’s said that this has the same impact as doing eight mindfulness sessions every week.
Even if gardening isn’t exactly your thing, it might be one hobby that’s definitely worth your time.