Soul food: 5 ways spending time in your garden can improve your health

Soul food

5 ways spending time in your garden can improve your health

Share this article on Social Media

Spending time outdoors, in the comfort of your garden can have tremendous benefits for both your physical and mental health.

Physical activity is good for all and fresh air goes hand in hand with this, but gardening and spending time amongst nature are also great ways of keeping your mental health on track.

Don’t have a garden? Not to worry! Just the same level of enjoyment and benefit can be achieved from cultivating a window box garden or spending time on an allotment. A little nature can go a long way.

Read on to discover the health benefits that can be achieved from gardening and spending time outdoors, you may be surprised.

garden image

1. Breathe in and breathe out

The great outdoors is very important to mental health and there isn’t really a substitute for it. Deep breathing in the fresh air can help to restore focus, boost energy and reduce stress. Being in the outside world, perhaps appreciating the vast beauty of the sky at sunset or the delicate geometric complexity of a dew-filled spider’s web can also provide an important feeling of perspective to our day-to-day lives. It forces us to appreciate the intricate beauty of the eco-system we inhabit.

As well as this being outdoors can provide free aromatherapy. Actually stopping to smell the roses (or freshly cut lawn, or turned earth) sends soothing signals to our brains and can help us to relax.

2. Let the sunshine in

Sunshine is important, as it encourages and controls the amount of Vitamin D in our bodies. Vitamin D is called the ‘sunshine vitamin’, for that very reason. Whilst your body can produce this, the quantity is minute. Deficiency in this vitamin can cause numerous health problems and be a leading cause of Seasonal Depression Disorder.

Vitamin D is used for strong bones and teeth, and also supports your brain function, moods, nervous system, immune system and cardiovascular health. Lack of Vitamin D can also cause issues with your mental health including anxiety or depression.

Spending time outdoors soaking up the rays can be significantly beneficial in improving both your mental and physical health. Just don’t forget the suncream!

3. Straight from patch to plate

As well as the increase of Vitamin D, spending time in the garden planting and cultivating your own fruits and vegetables can have numerous benefits for your diet and physical health and well-being. 

Not only do homegrown veggies taste just that bit better than store bought, they are packed full of vitamins and nutrients that your body will thank you for.

You could also use your garden space to grow some medicinal herbs such as ginger, garlic, turmeric and echinacea.

Interested in growing your own fruit & veg?

Check out our handy guide for what to plant and when

4. Let’s get physical

With regard to your physical health, it goes without saying that exercise is good for you, whatever your age group.

The physical act of gardening, the bending, stretching, lifting, pulling, though not overtly strenuous, can do wonders to keep your body fit and well. Gardening can also be extremely beneficial in maintaining dexterity in hands and joints.

As well as in regard to your physique, there is scientific evidence to indicate that spending time outdoors can also boost your immune system, making it easier to shake off illnesses. Sounds like a win-win.

5. The ultimate satisfaction

The final benefit on our list and arguably the most important is achieving a sense of satisfaction. There truly is nothing more rewarding and good for your soul than seeing the results of your labour, witnessing your outside space transformed into something special. 

Think of bare earth at first, and a little while later, determined shoots springing up and blooms bursting forth to decorate your outdoor space with an array of colour – gardening truly is one of the most satisfying hobbies. It can put a smile on your face and give your spirit a genuine lift when you think ‘I grew that’.

Further on the satisfaction thread, garden wildlife such as squirrels, birds and bees are attracted to plants and flowers, so consider installing a bird box or a small water bath in your garden. Watching birds regularly feed, bathe and enjoy your outdoor space is sure to bring you genuine joy and satisfaction, as well as some new animal friends to look out for.

A squirrel feeder is also thoughtful to have in the colder winter months, when food for wildlife is scarce. Being kind to garden wildlife is a truly satisfying occupation that improves your mental wellbeing.

Are you ready to spruce up your outdoor space?

Take a look at Parsley Box’s new garden range