The Health column with Heart Research UK’s Dr Helen Flaherty: Dig deep to keep your heart healthy

Gardens and greenspaces have been hugely important to many people during the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, with many people finding their refuge through gardening.

Monday, 28th June 2021, 10:55 am
Updated Monday, 28th June 2021, 11:29 am
Growing vegetables can give children valuable lessons and spark an interest in eating them, too.
Growing vegetables can give children valuable lessons and spark an interest in eating them, too.

Gardens and greenspaces have been hugely important to many people during the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, with many people finding their refuge through gardening.

Here we explore some of the health and mental wellbeing benefits of gardening.

Grow your own

Dr Helen Flaherty, Head of Health Promotion at Heart Research UK

There is nothing quite like eating your own fresh home grown produce!

Not only are many fruits and vegetables very easy to grow, but they are also more nutrient-dense, free of pesticides and tasty.

By growing your own, you are also helping to preserve the environment.

Stress relief

Gardening is a fantastic stress reliever and can cultivate feelings of empowerment, connection, and calm. Being in touch with nature and the great outdoors can help you feel more removed from the daily stressors of life.

Work out

Gardening is exercise and working in a garden can use every major muscle group in the body.

While activities such as raking and cutting the grass may be light exercise, shovelling and digging can be counted as vigorous exercise.

Work with what you have

Whether your patch is large or small, a raised bed, a community garden or window box – make the most of it by researching the best plants for your space and sunlight exposure.

You can grow a range of things with very little space and maintenance, whilst still reaping the benefits of fresh food.

Get the kids involved

It can sometimes be a challenge to get children to eat healthy foods and enjoy them.

Growing vegetables not only teaches children valuable lessons about the work that it takes to grow them, but it can also help them to gain a keen interest in eating them, too.

Happy gardening!

You can find lots more tips, recipes and health advice at https://heartresearch.org.uk/

In the last 10 years, Heart Research UK has funded over £10.2m in medical research in hospitals and universities across the UK, as well as £2.2m on innovative community-based lifestyle projects to improve the heart health of the nation.

If you’d like to support Heart Research UK’s work into the prevention, treatment and cure of heart disease, please visit www.heartresearch.org.uk for inspiration on how you could help.