Just half an hour in the allotment can have physical and mental health benefits
We all know about the physical and fiscal benefit of taking home trug after trug of fresh fruit and vegetables, however…
We welcome the study by researchers at the Universities of Westminster and Essex, which has found that even a small amount of participation in allotment gardening can have significant benefits on health. The report affirms our view that allotments make a significant contribution to the health and well-being of citizens and we would argue that this should be acknowledged by councils in their Health and Well-being Policies and their allotment services be expanded and protected.
They found that one session of allotment gardening can result in significant improvements in both self-esteem and mood, via reductions in tension, depression, anger, and confusion.
Dr Wood commented “Participants who attend an allotment for a short period just once per week can experience a similar magnitude of improvements in self-esteem and mood as participants who attend more regularly for longer periods of time,”and on the impact these findings could have on public health policy: “Health organizations and policy makers should consider the potential of allotment gardening as a long-term tool for combatting ill-health. Local public authorities should seek to provide community allotment plots to allow residents to have regular opportunities to partake.”
As well as significant improvements in mental well-being, the study also found that the allotment gardeners had significantly lower BMI than those who did not participate in gardening. 68% of the non-gardening group were overweight or obese, compared with just 47% of the gardeners.
The authors concluded that allotment gardening “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.”
Please have a look through the following reports on the hidden benefits of allotmenting – they provide an enlightening read.
The good ladies of Glasgow.