3 Reasons Why Gardening Can Help Tackle Obesity


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Obesity is – if you’ll pardon the pun – big news.  Whenever you open a newspaper or switch on the television, chances are it won’t be long before our senses are assaulted with another horror story regaling how the country’s wrestling against the vice-like grip of an obesity epidemic.

Sugar is a canker. Calories are evil. Fat is Beelzebub. Salt melts your intestines.  The health system can’t cope. We’re a nation of bloaters. Don’t reach for that pizza. One more Mars Bar and your head will explode.

But despite my gently mocking asides, there’s a very serious point to all this – and a solution that may help remedy, if not all, then at least some of the problem.

In a rather pleasing confluence between the news’ obsession with obesity and prime time TV’s equally obsessive devotion to property and gardening programmes, the two can make a very happy marriage when it comes to shedding a few pounds.


1) It’s Excellent Exercise

Getting out and about in the garden has long been proven to be good for your health. It can have a significant impact on your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing, as well as being a form of healing and recuperation for the elderly and infirm, those recovering from a physical condition, and people with mental health problems.

Gardening provides an excellent workout for the respiratory and cardiovascular systems, improving endurance, flexibility and strength. Perhaps even more significantly, getting physical in your green space can help prevent problems such as diabetes, heart disease and osteoporosis.

Physical exercise through gardening also releases endorphins, which help to alleviate stress and the resulting negative emotions it can often invoke.

Studies have shown that just spending time in the relaxing and tranquil environs of a garden reduces your blood pressure.

People suffering from obesity often have trouble sleeping, and gardening can help foster a good night’s sleep.


2) It Encourages Healthy Eating

One of the natural by-products of gardening is eating more healthily. If you’re going to the effort of growing your own fruit and veg then it stands to reason you should enjoy, literally, the fruits of your labours, right?

Gardening is the ultimate in encouraging organic sustenance and personal health – and feeding your body with the bountiful offerings provided by nature in the form of the fruit, veg and herbs you’ve grown is your own reward for growing them.

Furthermore, if gardening is encouraged form any early age then the chances are you’ll nurture a more pro-active approach to it and see it as a natural link between a form of self-sufficiency and good, nutritional produce.

And with the current emphasis on eating your five a day and espousing the health benefits of eating organic fruit and veg, it’s a good opportunity to tend to your parsnips as well as your perennials.


3) The Social Network

Many of those suffering from obesity or weight problems often cite being depressed or lonely – or feeling depressed because they’re lonely – as key factors in exacerbating their weight problems.

By joining local gardening groups, you’re encouraged to interact and socialise with others, which creates a sense of belonging and personal achievement.   In a sense, this performs the function of rehabilitation.

It’s this combination of factors that can help reduce further eating, rather channelling a positive mental and physical attitude than a potentially destructive one.

So gardening isn’t just a case of sorting your shrubs from your ground cover plants – it can have a seriously beneficial effect on your health when it comes to tackling obesity.


Can you think of any other ways gardening can help you shed some weight? Share in the comments.

Gavin Harvey

Gavin Harvey is a personal trainer with a passion for travel. When he's not busy touring the world, he can be found in the gym or at home with his partner and two cats. You can keep up with his latest adventures by following him on twitter.

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