Here’s a surprisingly good reason to pick up a garden spade – new research has found that gardening promotes a positive body image…

New research has found that allotment gardening promotes a positive body image.

The study, led by Professor Viren Swami of Anglia Ruskin University (ARU), involved 84 gardeners from 12 urban allotment sites in north London.

Compared to a group of 81 non-gardeners in the same area of London, a series of questionnaires found that the gardeners had significantly higher levels of body appreciation, significantly higher levels of body pride, and significantly higher levels of appreciation for their body’s functionality.

The more time spent in the garden, the better

The study also discovered that the longer period of time the participants spent gardening, the larger the improvement in positive body image when they left their allotment.

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Previous research has shown that gardening is associated with improved psychological wellbeing and physical health.

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We need natural environments

This new study adds to previous work by Professor Swami demonstrating that exposure to natural environments helps to promote positive body image.

“Positive body image is beneficial because it helps to foster psychological and physical resilience, which contributes to overall wellbeing,” says Viren Swami, Professor of Social Psychology at Anglia Ruskin University (ARU), in Cambridge, and Perdana University, in Malaysia.

“My previous research has shown the benefits of being in nature more generally, but increasing urbanisation has meant that many people now have less access to nature.

“The findings from this new study are important because they specifically show the significant benefits of spending time on allotments, which are typically quite small patches of green space in otherwise mainly urban environments.”

Source: Anglia Ruskin University via www.sciencedaily.com