A new study reveals a significant association between gardening more often and improvements in well-being, perceived stress, and physical activity.
The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) study of Great Britain surveyed more than 6,000 people, and the results indicate that those who garden every day have 6.6% higher wellness scores and stress levels of 4 , 2% lower than people who do not farm at all.
RHS Wellness Scholar and Lead Author, Dr. Lauriane Chalmin-Pui says; “This is the first time gardening’s ‘dose response’ has been tested and the evidence overwhelmingly suggests that the more frequently you grow, the greater the health benefits.
“In fact, gardening every day has the same positive impact on well-being as regular, vigorous exercise, such as biking or running.
“When gardening, our brains are pleasantly distracted by the nature around us. This shifts our focus away from ourselves and our stress, thus restoring our minds and reducing negative feelings. “
Respondents who garden 2-3 times a week had a 4.1% higher wellness score and 2.4% lower stress levels compared to people who didn’t farm at all. However, gardening less than 3 times a month has a less positive impact.
The study, conducted by RHS in collaboration with the University of Sheffield and the University of Virginia, and published in Cities daily, found that more frequent gardening was also associated with increased physical activity, supporting the notion that gardening is good for the body and mind.
Dr. Chalmin-Pui adds; “Gardening is like effortless exercise because it doesn’t feel as tiring as going to the gym, for example, but we can expend similar amounts of energy.
“Most people say they garden for pleasure and for pleasure, so the likelihood of getting hooked on gardening is also high and the good news is that from a mental health perspective, you can’t ‘overdose! ‘in gardening!
‘Pleasure and enjoyment’ is the reason why 6 out of 10 people cultivate a garden. Almost a third say they garden for the ‘health benefits’; 1 in 5 say that ‘wellness’ is the reason they garden, and 15% say it makes them feel calm and relaxed.
Co-author Dr Ross Cameron from the University of Sheffield commented: “This research provides further empirical data to support the value of landscaping and gardens for mental restoration and ‘promoting mental calm’.
“We also found that a higher proportion of plants in the garden was linked to greater well-being, suggesting that even seeing ‘green’ gardens can help.”
Not only capable gardeners benefited. Those with health problems said that gardening alleviated bouts of depression (13%), increased energy levels (12%), and reduced stress (16%).
The report adds to a mountain of evidence showing the positive health benefits of gardening. A study from Harvard University found that the calories burned in 30 minutes of gardening are comparable to playing a social game of badminton, volleyball, or practicing yoga.
Last year, a RHS Scientific Paper found that adding a few plants to a bare front garden can make you happier, more relaxed, and has the same impact as eight mindfulness sessions per week.