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4 May 2018

Get gardening for your heart

Heart disease is the single biggest killer of Australians, and the best way to reduce your risk is with a healthy lifestyle.

We are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of physical activity in reducing the prevalence and impact of risk factors for heart disease. Learn why gardening is one of the best ways to help your heart below, and how you can get involved in some great community activites. 

Good news for green thumbs

We know that gardening is a great activity for wellness, however did you know that it’s actually proven to be as good for your heart as formal exercise? A major Swedish study of almost 4,000 people aged 60-plus published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine indicates that regular gardening can cut the risk of a heart attack or stroke, and prolong life by as much as 30%.

Not only does creating a tranquil space and the satisfaction of growing things make you feel happier and calmer, gardening tasks involving digging, lifting and carrying is good form of moderate cardiovascular exercise and can strengthen and tone muscles.

No matter how big or small your space is, you can set up your own garden. Start small with a few pots in a sunny spot on your balcony and go from there.

Let’s get physical

The Australian Heart Foundation recommends at least half an hour of moderate physical activity per day to reduce your risk of heart attack or developing heart disease. If that sounds like a lot, you can break it down into three lots of 10 minutes. Start small with the aim of building up to it, and remember anything is better than nothing. Being active will also improve your mood and make you feel more energetic.

Get involved in community gardens

Community gardens are a great way to be active with others, sharing valuable gardening skills and social support whilst providing an outlet for healthy exercise and a healthy food source. 

Did you know that in 2000 we launched our amazing Community Greening project? Since it began 18 years ago, it has reached more than 100,000 participants and seen the growth of hundreds of community gardens across Sydney and New South Wales. Find out more information or check if you have a Community Garden near you here.

This week we also announced the results of the project. Data shows how Community Greening helps to improve physical and mental health, tackle economic disadvantage and build community cohesion. You can hear all about the importance of the work and fantastic findings in the video below.

Get stuck in

The benefits of being outside and gardening don’t stop there. If you’re stuck for ideas on how to get greener, find your local Community Greening project or join us at the Inside Dig gardening workshop. The 1.5 hour session will show you how to create your own mini-haven, regardless of how much space you have at home.

With your newly-found gardening knowledge you can stock up at our Plant Sale at the Growing Nursery. We sell a great range of native and exotic plants, which will make your garden look beautiful and warm your heart.

At the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney we are committed to serving the community via innovative outreach programs, and believe that gardening is a vital skill that we want to share with everyone!

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