Daily Gardening is as Good for Mental Well-being as Regular Vigorous Exercise

April 26th 2021

As National Gardening Week starts today, the RHS has released new research* revealing a significant association between gardening more frequently and improvements in well-being, perceived stress and physical activity.

The first RHS Well-being Fellow and lead author, Dr Lauriane Chalmin-Pui is a Research Fellow at The University of Sheffield’s Department of Landscape Architecture. Dr Chalmin Pui said:

This is the first time the ‘dose response’ to gardening has been tested and the evidence overwhelmingly suggests that the more frequently you garden – the greater the health benefits.”

In fact, gardening every day has the same positive impact on well-being than undertaking regular, vigorous exercise like cycling or running." **

When gardening, our brains are pleasantly distracted by nature around us. This shifts our focus away from ourselves and our stresses, thereby restoring our minds and reducing negative feelings.

Co-author, Dr Ross Cameron of the University of Sheffield, commented; “This research provides further empirical data to support the value of gardening and gardens for mental restoration and ‘promoting a calmness of mind’.

We also found a greater proportion of plants in the garden was linked with greater well-being, suggesting even just viewing ‘green’ gardens may help.

According to the RHS, it was not just able gardeners who benefited. Those with health problems stated gardening eased episodes of depression (13%), boosted energy levels (12%) and reduced stress (16%).

On June 24, 2021, RHS Hilltop - the UK's first dedicated horticultural scientific centre of excellence will open to the public at RHS Garden Wisley. ‘The Wellbeing Garden’ (designed by Matt Keightley) will be one of three new gardens surrounding the building; it will help to form the blueprint for designing an optimal well-being garden and highlight the importance of the distinct link between gardens and good health.


*RHS study

**Finnish study