January can be a very long, miserable month and we would like to make it a little easier for you, helping best we can. Although it’s cold and wet, getting out in your gardens not only does your garden a favour but also your health.
In preparation for Blue Monday, see how gardening can help with your mind and body…
1. Gardening To Help Your Mind
How does gardening decrease depression and anxiety?
‘From a clinical research perspective, the positive effects of gardening on anxiety make sense. Most obviously, gardening provides a way to engage with nature. As research on wilderness therapy, horticultural therapy, and urban green spaces indicate, spending time in nature is associated with increased emotion regulation, decreased neural activity in the subgenual prefrontal cortex (the area associated with rumination), and decreased symptoms of depression and anxiety.2
Additionally, gardening is rich with opportunities to practice mindfulness, the process of being aware of the present moment without judgment. For example, while gardening, you may notice the colours of the plants, the rich diversity of textures in the soil, and the smell of the earth and the flowers. While gardening, you must also fully engage and participate in the task so as not to over- or under-water your plants, incorrectly space the seeds you are planting, or pull out some flowers instead of those pesky weeds. All of these acts and sensations, so integrally a part of gardening, require you to be mindful. Given that mindfulness has been shown to be an important mechanism of symptom change in depression and anxiety across a variety of therapies, it makes clinical sense that the mental aspects of gardening can decrease depression and anxiety as well.
Finally, while gardening may seem like a relatively sedentary activity, gardening can provide aerobic exercise via weeding, trimming, and raking. Additionally, gardening activities such as spading, lifting, raking, and tilling both strength and tone your muscles, providing you with good anaerobic exercise. Considering that even mild exercise has been shown to decrease symptoms of anxiety and depression, it logically follows that the physical aspects of gardening have an effect on depression and anxiety as well.’ Taken from anxiety.org
Gardening to create a ‘space’ for you to have a minute in after a long day or to enjoy a sit in the sunshine can also be very beneficial and do your mind wonders. For more information on how gardening can help relieve stress, read more here.
2. Gardening To Help Your Fitness
Gardening not only helps your mental health, but also your physical. We’ve all been there, wondering why everything is aching after only ‘a bit of gardening’.
When it comes to burning calories digging and shovelling come top of the list with mowing and weeding not far behind. Spend half an hour doing any of the following activities and expect to use up:
- Digging and shovelling: 250 calories
- Lawn mowing: 195 calories
- Weeding: 105 calories
- Raking: 100 calories
taken from saga.co.uk