With warmer temperatures ahead, the summer months are a perfect opportunity to head outside to water your plants, plant some seeds and grow your very own vegetables.
Following National Gardening Week (2nd – 8th May 2022), Lottie’s new research has found more people than ever before are reaping the health benefits of gardening.
Over the last three months, there has been a surge in online searches on Google for those keen to use gardening as a full-body workout:
- 247% increase in online searches on Google for ‘gardening for health’
- 80% increase in online searches on Google for ‘gardening workout’
- 33% increase in online searches on Google for ‘gardening fitness’
If you’re looking for a new way to stay fit and healthy, gardening has lots of surprising benefits.
Here Lottie’s Co-Founder and Care Expert Will Donnelly shares 7 surprising ways gardening can boost your health and wellbeing this summer:
- A full-body workout
“Gardening involves different kinds of exercises, including stretching and weightlifting. Activities such as digging, raking, and mowing all use different muscles and can provide you with a full-body workout.
For instance, pushing a loaded wheelbarrow can build muscle, whilst raking and carrying leaves improves your endurance levels. Besides the cardio benefit, the physicality will keep your body flexible and increase your strength, particularly in your arms and legs”, shares Care Expert Will Donnelly.
- Boosts your mood
“Time and activity in nature works wonders for our mood. There is lots of evidence that links spending time outdoors – surrounded by nature – and improved wellbeing”, says Will Donnelly.
Gardening can make you feel more peaceful and content: focusing on the immediate tasks and details of gardening can reduce any negative thoughts you’re experiencing”.
- Improves heart health
“Gardening is a great example of aerobic exercise and involves many heart-raising activities, including picking weeds, planting seeds, and pushing a lawnmower.
All these exercises are great for your heart and some studies has shown that regular gardening can reduce the risk of a heart attack in those over the age of 60”.
- Lifts your self-esteem
Will shares: “Research has shown that regularly interacting with nature can increase our confidence and self-esteem.
For example, researchers from the University of Westminster and University of Essex found that spending only 30 minutes a week in the garden can improve your self-esteem and reduce feelings of anger and depression.
Seeing your hard work pay off through blooming flowers, growing plants and fresh vegetables provides you with a real sense of achievement, too.
What’s more, gardening is a great activity to improve your social skills. One of Lottie’s partner care homes – Chandler Court – has recently set up its very own gardening club, where they’re harvesting their first fruits and vegetables soon.”
Paul Chambers, Customer Relations Manager at Chandler Court Care Home, shares some more insight into their budding gardening residents: “We’ve recently worked with Age UK to create an allotment and peace garden, which aims to bring people and nature together. This project has lots of therapeutic benefits for our residents, particularly those with dementia.”
- Lowers your stress levels
“Another added benefit of gardening is reduced stress levels. Whether you have a small patio to decorate or a whole garden full of fresh flowers, turning a garden into your very own haven can be a huge stress reliever.
Simply being outdoors surrounded by nature can help you feel removed from the everyday stresses of life”, says Will.
- Reduces your risk of health issues
“Although more research is needed, recent studies have found that regular gardening or DIY can cut the risk of a heart attack or stroke, and by as much as 30% for those aged 60 and over.
Eating freshly grown fruits and vegetables has also been shown to decrease the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and some cancers. There’s never been a more ideal time to kickstart your gardening adventure!”
- Protects your memory
“Some studies have found a link between gardening and improved memory. There is also some evidence that physical activity – such as gardening – may have a delaying effect on the onset of dementia.
If your loved one has dementia and they enjoyed gardening beforehand, engaging in this activity together could help them revisit those long-term memories.
It’s also a great experience to do together: spending time planting seeds, nurturing plants, and enjoying the results can build trust and strengthen your bond.”