Gardening improves the physical self-image

Gardening improves the physical self-image

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How gardening affects our self-image

Many people have problems with appreciating their own bodies, a new study now concludes that gardening can help people to develop a positive self-image.

The current study by Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) found that gardening helps to improve one's own body image. The results of the study were published in the English-language journal "Ecopsychology".

Gardening improves the appreciation of your own body

Working in the allotment actually seems to improve the appreciation of one's own body and its functions, as well as the acceptance of physical imperfections. This indicates how important time spent in nature is for humans, even if it is not a large park or green space.

165 people took part in the study

84 people with an allotment garden from twelve urban gardens in north London were examined for the new study. In addition, there was a control group consisting of 81 people who were recruited from the same area of ‚Äč‚ÄčLondon and did no gardening. Using questionnaires, the researchers tried to record their self-perception of their body.

Gardening led to numerous improvements

When the participants engaged in gardening, the level of their own body evaluation increased significantly. In addition, the degree of appreciation and the functionality of one's own body also increased, compared to people who had not dealt with gardening, the researchers report on the results of the completed questionnaires.

Longer time in the garden led to greater improvement

The study also found that the longer the participants had spent gardening, the greater the improvement in their own positive body image when they left the allotment garden.

Gardening improves mental wellbeing and physical health

Previous research had shown that gardening is associated with improved mental wellbeing and physical health. The new study complements this earlier work and shows that exposure to natural environments helps promote a positive body image.

Advantages through a positive self-image

A positive physical self-image is beneficial because it helps to promote mental and physical resilience and contributes to general well-being, the researchers report. Previous research had shown the benefits of spending time in nature in general, but increasing urbanization has meant that many people today unfortunately have less and less access to nature.

Even small green spaces can bring significant benefits

The results of the new study are important because they specifically show the significant advantages of staying in allotment gardens, which are usually quite small green spaces in otherwise mainly urban environments, the researchers further explain.

Do we need communal allotment gardens?

It would be extremely beneficial to have gardening opportunities available to everyone. This would benefit not only the people affected, but also the healthcare system, because the long-term cost burden can be reduced, the researchers emphasize. One way to achieve this goal is to provide committed and sustainable communal allotment gardens. (as)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the requirements of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


  • Viruses Swami: Body Image Benefits of Allotment Gardening, in Ecopsychology (Published Vol.12, No. 1, 03.04.2020), Ecopsychology

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