There is a growing body of research that suggests a whole range of social and practical activities can improve our physical and mental wellbeing. This includes our great love; gardening.
The King’s Fund, who champion ‘ideas that change health care’ recently published a report extolling the virtues of gardening.
The physical benefits of any hard graft are well known and well documented. We have long known that heart-pumping, sweat inducing exercise can help reduce the risk of heart disease, obesity and cancer. But here’s the really good news; digging for 30 minutes requires as much energy as a 2 km run, and in so doing, totally justifies that soak in the bath!
The report has further good news for gardener’s, and not even the keenest ones too! The paper concluded that even gentle gardening, what some of you might call a ‘potter’, has a positive impact in much less obvious ways. Time spent outside potting (or pottering), pruning or even weeding can tackle both your anxiety and stress levels. So, put simply, just by spending time in your garden can be of huge benefit to you and your loved ones, and who couldn’t do without lowering their levels of stress?
The Thrive organisation (formerly known as the Society for Horticultural Therapy), hopes the evidence from a recent project will convince doctors to prescribe gardening as a bona fide therapy. It is using £300,000 of Lottery funding to back the research being carried out with the help of Loughborough University using clients, with a range of needs, referred to the charity by social services.
Thrive was established in 1978 and so gives the charity authority enough to say, “We know it (gardening therapy) works, we now just have to prove it.” Whilst we are already converted to the idea that time in our gardens is good for both your heart and your soul, we eagerly await the research findings. We promise not to say ‘we told you so….’.
But our best source of evidence regarding the physical and mental positivity gained from gardens and gardening comes from talking with you, our clients, and family and friends, because you tell us all the time just how important these spaces are to your physical and mental well being. Whether you are enjoying the fruits of our labour or seeing, smelling, eating and touching the benefits of your own, you have, overwhelmingly, fully endorsed all of the above.
So it looks like investing time in the flora and fauna, that is quite literally on your doorstep, is not only providing you and your family with stress busting therapy but with health inducing benefits too.
Yep, that glass of wine, sat on your decking, enjoying the late evening sunshine, it’s all prescribed by The Bath Gardener team. As you were.
Happy gardening. TBG.
Remember to tweet me your gardening questions using #AskTBG and we will get back to you with a reply as soon as is botanically possible. @thebathgardener