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10 reasons why gardening rocks

25th April 2019

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We take a look at the reasons why we should all keep on gardening

Now that the weather is starting to get warmer (we hope!) and the evenings are lighter, the green-fingered among us have all jumped at the chance to get out into the garden again. Gardening is not just a great hobby (after all, who doesn’t love the satisfaction of earthing up a spud or pulling up a carrot you’ve grown all by yourself), but digging dirt, planting seed and harvesting crops have other benefits too, from weight-loss and reducing stress, to helping us on our way to becoming happy, healthy centurions! If you’re looking for an even better excuse to spend even more time in the garden, read on for the 10 reasons why gardening rocks.

1. Weight-loss

Turns out, gardening is good for our waistlines, since a report from Harvard Medical School revealed that spending just 30 minutes a day weeding can burn 180 calories. Spend three to four hours doing this or similar jobs such as digging and you can burn up to 700 calories – that’s more than spending an hour in the gym, and you get to be outside, too!

2. Improved diet

Most gardeners will tell you that there is no down side to growing your own fruits and vegetables, apart from perhaps the disappointment of failed germination or pests invading the plot. Not only do we feel a sense of pride when we see our seedlings start to sprout out of the ground and grow into juicy tomatoes and giant squashes but we also end up up with bumper loads of fresh produce to tuck into. You’ll be hard pressed to find someone who hasn’t switched shop-bought greens for home grown ones and experienced new depths of flavours, colours and textures. What’s more, if you’re growing your own fruit and veg, you’re bound to be eating more too, upping vitamins and minerals that are essential for fighting off illness and for overall health and wellbeing. 

3. Stress buster

Ever felt like heading straight to the gym and hitting the nearest punching bag after a particularly stressful day at the office? Well, it turns out, you’re not alone, as 80 per cent of people admit to feeling under pressure at work. With gardening, however, there’s no need to splash out on an expensive gym membership for that much-needed anger management, as grabbing a spade and digging the dirt or pulling up stubborn weeds can provide us with all the stress relief we need. Going out into the garden and deciding where to plant your potatoes, or how to prune your raspberry bush, will also help to take your mind off stressful life situations.

4. Horticultural therapy

It’s becoming more and more common for charities to set up gardening activities as a way to support people living with mental health conditions. Not only are there feel-good benefits to being outside, but growing your own also gives us a sense of responsibility and purpose that we might feel is missing from our day-to-day lives. Group gardening, through charities as well on allotment sites, helps to bring people together from all walks of life and to build long-lasting relationships and friendships. 

5. Gardening to feel good

In this day and age, where we live fast-paced lives, it’s easy to feel stressed and over whelmed at times. To combat this, it’s recommended that we are all more aware of how we are feeling in a particular moment, what we are doing in the outside world, and how we are doing it. According to the NHS, when we are mindful we are able to understand ourselves better and gardening helps us to do this. By stepping out into your garden, noticing yourself taking a look around, and feeling the earth between your fingers, you will feel more in the moment and less consumed by fear of future events that might never happen.

6. Reduced risk of osteoporosis

Gardening is a beneficial pursuit for all ages, but it’s also been proven to help fight osteoporosis in older age groups. Osteoporosis is a condition that weakens bones and can result in fractures and broken limbs. A study from the University of Arkansas of 3,300 women aged 50 and older revealed that women who gardened at least once a week had a higher bone density than those who walk, jog, swim or do aerobics. Weeding, pushing a wheelbarrow, mowing the grass and pruning hedges are all medium-intensity activities that involve weight-bearing that in turn helps us to build strong bones and muscles.

7. Reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease

Scientists have suggested that regular exercise could slash our risk of Alzheimer’s disease by up to 50 per cent. Activities such as gardening, jogging, walking and dancing exercise our brain, helping to boost our grey matter. 

8. Live longer

In December 2018, the BBC reported that researcher Daniel Buettner visited areas of the world dubbed ‘blue-zones’ and discovered that the locals were all gardening way into their 80s, 90s and even 100s! Recent studies have also suggested that spending just 10 minutes a day gardening can help us to live longer and lower the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease and cancer.

9. Growing together

You might not have thought it, but gardening has a brilliant online community that spans websites, forums, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and even YouTube. Each social media platform has its own functions that allow gardeners to share their harvests, get great growing tips, find inspiration, offer advice and even arrange meet-ups at gardening events. Instagram in particular is a brilliant platform for people to share pictures of the fruit and veg they’ve grown. 

10. Embracing nature

Getting outside in the garden will allow us to get in touch with the world around us. Spending a lot of time cooped up inside, either at work or at home, means missing out on what the natural world has to offer. Gardening not only enhances our appreciation of smells, colours, textures but gives an opportunity to interact with a whole load of garden-visiting friends such as birds, pond-life, hedgehogs and more.

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