National Gardening Week (27 April – 3 May) is the nation’s biggest celebration of gardening, led by the Royal Horticultural Society.
It’s an annual event, but this year as the UK respects Government social distancing measures, gardens offer a precious means of spending time outside the house and give another area of focus.
The RHS explains on their website: “We’re calling on gardeners up and down the country to go out into gardens or balconies as a way to look after their physical health, wellbeing and ‘keep gardening’. Especially important for those spending more time at home at the moment as it’s great mood boosting exercise.
“In these unsettling and challenging times, it’s more important than ever before to find simple and positive ways for us all to relax and feel happy.”
The RHS commissioned a OnePoll Survey that showed that 52% of people in Britain have experienced feeling alone but more than half of adults enjoy being surrounded by greenery and a further 53% said it boosts their mood.
For elderly people, gardening represents a brilliant opportunity to enjoy some light exercise in the comfort of their own property. Gardening offers the following benefits:
Spending time in you garden can help ensure you are getting Vitamin D from sunlight. This vitamin is responsible for regulating the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body. These nutrients are in turn needed to keep bones, teeth and muscles healthy. Although don’t forget to apply sun cream!
Gardening can increase hand strength as you plant, prune and weed your garden.
Working in the garden helps maintain and build muscle strength, which is important for all of us – especially those of us over 65 years old. Digging and shoveling is recommended by the NHS for increasing muscle strength. It’s important to build this up slowly, however, if you have been inactive recently.
Enjoying some fresh air and having your hands in the soil after being inside can help improve mood and increase a sense of well-being.
Planting and maintaining a garden brings motivation and satisfaction. It gives you something to focus on and is a welcome distraction form anxious thoughts and feelings. As any gardener knows, gardening requires patience and perseverance in helping plants to flower and grow.