National Gardening Week may have just ended but with warmer weather hopefully on the horizon, now’s a great time to get stuck into gardening and to get all the family involved in it too. Not only is gardening a relatively inexpensive activity that you can do on your doorstep, it’s also a great way to keep fit, is naturally de-stressing and it’s become pretty darn trendy in recent years too.
This post takes a look at some of the health benefits of gardening that could help you quit the gym and reduce your spa spend and looks at why gardening is becoming a hobby for old and young alike, whether you’ve got acres of land or just a few squares of patio.
The health benefits of gardening
If your gardening knowledge is minimal you might be tempted to dismiss the hobby as something that’s ‘not for you’. Before you do, did you know that a three hour gardening session can have the same benefits on your body as a hardcore gym session? And of course, you don’t generate any Vitamin D through sun exposure while you’re training indoors at the gym!
According to research, spending just five hours each week doing outdoor jobs like weeding, mowing the lawn, trimming the hedge and planting could help you burn 18,772 calories over the course of the year. And if you can’t afford fancy gadgets like electric hedge trimmers that’s all the better, because you’ll get a better all over workout without them. In fact, planning, digging and planting a new flowerbed could leave you feeling more toned and fitter.
If you decide to spend some of your time in the garden planting fruit and vegetables you and your brood could reap the benefits by bulking out your weekly shop, making your grocery budget go further and cooking up a storm in the kitchen with your vitamin packed produce. Plus, spending time around nature can help calm the mind and has been known to help tire out energetic kids! Another often-overlooked aspect of gardening is the fact it’s an expressive and creative activity. You can use your garden or patio pots as a canvas, adding colour, texture and scent to create living art and you don’t need a garden to look pristine for it to be picture perfect and beautiful.
Why gardening is having a growth spurt
Admittedly, gardening doesn’t yet have a swarm of young and hip poster boys and girls bigging up digging on every street corner but gardening among young people is definitely on the rise. A survey by the Royal Horticultural Society found that 89% of 16-24-year-olds have a garden or grow plants and though many of those may well still be able to lay a claim on their parents’ gardens there is undoubtedly young gardening blood climbing up through the ranks. There may not be a lot of young gardeners on primetime telly with the likes of Alan Titchmarsh but you can find them showing off their efforts on Instagram or over on YouTube giving useful demonstrations. Check out Jack Shilley’s ‘how to’ videos for some great introductions to everyday horticulturals tasks from planting fruit trees through to caring for strawberry plants. Programmes such as The Big Allotment Challenge have also had a part to play in popularising gardening among the next generation as we begin to realise we don’t need a big garden or even our own gardens to get going.
Small gardens still reap big benefits
Even if you don’t have a big outdoor space, you can still reap many of the benefits of gardening. You could create a rooftop garden, pot a few plants on the patio or make better use of your balcony and still enjoy an improvement to your health and wellbeing as a result. A study by Roger Ulrich in 1984 showed that surgery patients who enjoyed a view of nature during their recovery had fewer complications compared to patients who could only gaze on a brick wall. So, if you do have even a small garden, you may want to think about installing patio doors or some bi-fold doors like these from Vufold. You can maximise the impact of even the smallest of garden areas with a good view of the flora and fauna you’ve managed to grow as a family and being able to see your best efforts should keep you feeling green fingered and inspired.
This is a collaborative post.