gardening for health

New study says gardening just twice a week improves wellbeing and lowers your stress

A new study from Britain’s Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), shows that if you do gardening more frequently it can improve your wellbeing, perceived stress and physical activity.

Britain’s Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) surveyed more than 6,000 people, and results indicate that those who garden every day have wellbeing scores 6.6% higher and stress levels 4.2% lower than people who don’t garden at all. Respondents who gardened 2-3 times a week had a 4.1% higher wellbeing score and 2.4% lower stress levels compared to people who don’t garden at all. However, gardening fewer than 3 times a month has less of a positive impact.

RHS Wellbeing Fellow and lead author, Dr Lauriane Chalmin-Pui says; “This is the first time the ‘dose response’ to gardening has been tested and the evidence overwhelmingly suggests that the more frequently you garden—the greater the health benefits.

“In fact gardening every day has the same positive impact on wellbeing than undertaking regular, vigorous exercise like cycling or running.

“When gardening, our brains are pleasantly distracted by nature around us. This shifts our focus away from ourselves and our stresses, thereby restoring our minds and reducing negative feelings.”

Dr Chalmin-Pui adds; “Gardening is like effortless exercise because it doesn’t feel as strenuous as going to the gym, for example, but we can expend similar amounts of energy.

“Most people say they garden for pleasure and enjoyment so the likelihood of getting hooked to gardening is also high and the good news is that from a mental health perspective—you can’t ‘over-dose’ on gardening!

6 in 10 people garden for enjoyment and pleasure with nearly a third say they garden for the ‘health benefits’; 1 in 5 say ‘wellbeing’ is the reason they garden, and 15% say it makes them feel calm and relaxed. Those with health problems stated gardening eased episodes of depression (13%), boosted energy levels (12%), and reduced stress (16%).

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