Just 30 minutes of gardening can boost mental health

News item first posted on: 05/11/15

A new study has shown that just 30 minutes of gardening a week has a beneficial effect on mental health.

Researchers from Westminster and Essex universities questioned 269 gardeners and non-gardeners with the former describing their feelings before and after working in an allotment

They found that one gardening session resulted in significant improvements in self-esteem and mood,  with reductions in tension, depression, anger, and confusion.

The study also found that less than half of gardeners were overweight or obese, compared to nearly 70 per cent of non-gardeners.

The authors concluded that local authorities should seek to provide more community allotment plots for residents, and that this “could contribute to a greener and healthier economy focused on the prevention of ill-health. This preventative approach could result in substantial savings to the UK economy, particularly in the treatment of health conditions such as mental illness, obesity, cardiovascular disease and loneliness.”

Professor John Ashton, president of the UK Faculty of Public Health (FPH), said: “We cannot have good physical health without also looking after our mental well-being. FPH would welcome more community allotments and opportunities for people to have access to safe, green spaces....Given the cost to individuals and the economy of poor mental health, it makes sense from both a public health and economic perspective to prioritise mental well-being.”

Click here to read an article about the study in the Independent newspaper.