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Moving more for your mental health

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This Mental Health Awareness Week, this year’s theme is all about moving more for your mental health. What better way to do this than gardening - or indeed, visiting gardens?

Keeping yourself active is a hugely important factor in improving your mental health and we all know that formal and informal exercise can play a huge role in keeping your mind and body healthy.  There’s a great way to keep moving without thinking about exercising - and of course that’s gardening!

There are so many tasks to keep us active as gardeners, some of them really quite strenuous; mowing, digging, pruning and hedge trimming, sweeping leaves - even digging a pond! These are all ways to get your heart pumping in the garden and bring along with them a great sense of achievement. But there are other, gentler ways to get in your daily steps and these definitely bring me a mental health boost. As someone sitting at a desk a lot of the time, taking a ten minute break for a stroll around the garden is a real tonic.  Just seeing what’s coming up or newly blooming in the garden (especially in this sunny spell) is a treat in itself, but it’s amazing how much weeding you get done in just a few minutes!  Not only do you reap the mental and physical rewards of a bit of bending and stretching, but the satisfaction of a job well done also makes me happy.

A wander and a look around the garden brings excitement for the patient soul as well as the impatient one; there are quick wins to be had, as seedlings pop, tatties sprout and flowers start to bloom, changing, it seems, almost from one minute to the next. And for those willing to wait, the rewards of previous years’ strenuous labours come to fruition as flower and veg beds mature, as ponds develop their own ecosystems and everything grows, and grows, and grows! There is always something new to see, hear, smell and touch as you walk around the garden, with a cup of tea at dawn or a torch last thing at night to avoid the crunch of snails underfoot. 

One’s own garden may be a joy in itself, but visiting the gardens of others can be equally so; there are plenty of lovely places to visit through Scotland’s Gardens Scheme - a great way to get moving, whether a slow walk to really smell the roses, or a stride around a larger landscape. Bring a friend, walk and talk and move - in a garden - your mental health will thank you for it.

Find a garden to visit today

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Read more about why gardening makes us feel better