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10 surprising benefits of gardening

With summer finally here, it’s the perfect time to enjoy the warmer weather by exploring the great outdoors.

Yet, although the 2021 census found that 87% of UK households have a garden, many people overlook the simple joy of spending more time looking after it.

As well as allowing you to cultivate a beautiful outdoor space to relax or entertain in, gardening also offers some incredible advantages that you might not expect.

Read on to discover 10 surprising benefits of gardening.

1. Keeps you physically fit

The NHS recommends that adults from ages 19-64 should aim for 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity every week. But did you know that gardening counts as exercise?

In fact, just 30 minutes of gardening can burn the same amount of calories as some sports, such as badminton or yoga.

2. Improves your mental health

As well as physical benefits, gardening can also be a tool to improve your mental health.

A King’s Fund report on the health benefits of gardening found a multitude of advantages, including significant reductions in depression and anxiety, as well as improved social functioning.

Gardening comes with so many mental health benefits that an increasing number of GPs are prescribing it to patients and opening community gardens outside of their practices.

3. Creates a place for you to relax

Your garden is a blank canvas for you to decorate however you like.

Whether you design it to be functional by growing your own fruit and vegetables, beautiful by planting flowers, or a place for you to entertain your friends, it will offer you the ideal opportunity to get away from the stresses of life.

4. Offers a sense of community

Gardening, like any hobby, can help you connect with a like-minded community who share your interests.

By joining gardening groups, community allotments, or simply inviting your loved ones over to spend time in your garden, it is the perfect way to make new friends as well as strengthening your existing relationships.

5. Encourages healthy eating

One of the most important things you can do for your health is to eat a balanced, nutritional diet filled with your five a day – and where better to find fruits and vegetables than your own garden?

Growing your own food allows you to pick what you need when you need it, and also reduces the amount of plastic packaging and food waste that comes from buying from supermarkets.

6. Supports your local wildlife

Humans aren’t the only ones who can enjoy your garden – you’ll also encourage the local wildlife to visit too.

From hedgehog houses to bird feeders, there are plenty of ways you can invite smaller visitors to your garden to help the environment and give you a closer connection to nature.

7. Improves your immune system’s functionality

Gardening outdoors, especially when the weather is warmer in the summer months, will help you get a healthy dose of vitamin D from the sunlight.

Vitamin D is a vital nutrient that helps to build stronger bones, as well as reducing inflammation and fighting diseases and infections.

8. Gives you a sense of accomplishment

Although gardening can be hard work, imagine the joy you will feel when you pick your first fruit or vegetable or see your first flower bloom.

Having a sense of purpose and being rewarded with an accomplishment can greatly improve our mental wellbeing and help us appreciate the little things in life more.

9. Boost the value of your house

If you have plans to move or are considering moving in the future, your garden can add value to your house.

While it may be difficult to leave it behind, you can still make a financial gain from your investment and will know that someone else will enjoy your garden for years to come.

10. Perfect for all ages

Did you know that gardening is most popular with the older generation, with a survey finding that 51% of over-55s enjoyed the hobby?

However, gardening is more than a shared interest; it can also improve your longevity.

Researchers in Korea found that patients with dementia who were given 20-minute gardening sessions had an increase in certain brain nerve growth factors associated with memory, meaning that it can help to prevent cognitive decline.

And there are many benefits for the younger generation too.

Gardening can help children learn patience and improve their social skills, as well as offering them important lessons about healthy lifestyles for the future.

So, bring the whole family together to start transforming your garden into the ideal space for you and watch your relationships blossom.