Health And Lifestyle For The Over 50s

Gardening Can be a Health-Boosting Hobby


Research from the Growing Health project says that incorporating gardening into your lifestyle could be a good way to boost your health. According to research, a little gardening can help people to control their weight and lower high blood pressure, as well as reducing stress, depression and helping people with dementia.

“We know that there are an array of benefits for people who get outdoors and get their hands in the soil,” says Sarah Williams, project manager for Growing Health, which advocates using community food. “They include being active, getting fresh air, and meeting others. What we would now like to see is more GPs signposting their patients into these outdoor growing activities as a more cost-effective way of keeping people healthy.”

As there are a number of both mental and physical benefits to be gained from gardening, there is no shortage of reasons to take up the hobby. It can be a particularly helpful activity for older people who find themselves socially isolated or in need of a gentle form of exercise.

Plenty of doctors have acknowledged the positive effects gardening can have on their patients.

“We have gardens all around our practice and a community garden project where people can do therapeutic gardening,” says London GP Dr James Cavanagh. “We now refer people who we believe would benefit from the social interaction as well as from getting involved in physical work.”

“Gardening, horticulture and agriculture provide a healthy form of exercise but also help people, if they are growing vegetables and fruit for instance, to understand what a healthy diet is,” says Dr John Middleton, vice president for health policy at the UK’s Faculty of Public Health. “Gardening should be used increasingly to help with public health and I think doctors should be recommending this to patients. It is very good for people’s mental health and physical health.”

Is gardening helping you with your health? Does anyone have any useful gardening tips?