By The Greenhouse People

It burns calories

It burns calories

The benefits of gardening are endless. Not only can planting bulbs, digging trenches and pruning roses improve physical health, it can enhance mental wellbeing too.

A recent study found 88 percent of people believe mental wellbeing is a key benefit for spending time in the garden.

Perfect timing you might say, as April is National Stress Awareness Month, and in this article The Greenhouse People gives 5 ways everyone can up sticks and get gardening, doing their mental health a world of good.

Burning those calories

When you think of exercise, a sweaty spin class, an intense HIIT session, or a competitive sport may spring to mind. However, gardening can be a great way to boost physical fitness while enjoying the fresh outdoors.

For example, one hour of pulling out weeds burns approximately 300 calories, the equivalent of a half an hour rock climbing session!

Physical exercise also contributes to good mental health, as it increases blood flow to the brain, lifting your mood by producing “feel-good” hormones, which help to calm and relax the mind.

Just 20 minutes of physical activity a day could help keep those negative vibes at bay as well as keeping you in great shape too.

Being present

Taking time out of your busy schedule to be in the moment and spend time amongst nature could combat a range of both physical and mental ailments.

The Japanese Government recently poured $4 million into research on the benefits of Shinrin-Yoku - also known as “forest bathing” – which dates back to ancient Buddhism.

The idea is simple: if a person simply visits a natural area and walks in a relaxed way there are calming, rejuvenating and restorative benefits to be achieved including boosted immune systems, reduced blood pressure and improved sleep.

Releases negative energy

Everyone gets angry now and then and gardening can be an excellent way to put that anger to good use.

Get out your shovel and channel that negative energy into creating positive changes instead.

Try raking your outside space clear of leaves in the Autumn, heavy-duty digging in the Winter to lift the denser soil to face the frost and clearing up flower beds and borders in the Spring.

No matter what time of year, there’s always a way to get physical in the garden.

A natural blues-buster

Nature itself is a great blues-buster and often we may be experiencing its mood-lifting benefits in the garden, without even realising.

For example; just 10 minutes in the sun produces 10,000 international units of vitamin D, which satisfies your daily quota and helps boost your mood.

Some experts say being in close proximity to vegetation will lower levels of depression  and contact with soil bacteria Mycobacterium vaccae actually triggers the release of serotonin in our brain!

So, there’s no better time to get outside and experience its positive effects on your mental wellbeing.

It gives you a personal project

‘Flowers are restful to look at. They have no emotions or conflict,’ said Freud.

Indeed, horticulture can be a great equaliser and taking on a personal project, helping us contribute to transformative activity, boosts self-esteem and allows us to tap into the carefree part of ourselves with no deadlines, mortgage or annoying colleagues to worry about.

Perhaps start off with growing tomatoes on the kitchen window sill as an introduction and confidence booster.

If you’re serious about becoming more self-sufficient, a greenhouse can increase your yield of beautifully fresh fruit and veg all year round.