The power of early green intervention

Throughout history gardens and gardening have played a significant role in the lives of families; working together on farms, providing fresh home grown produce, playing outdoors in backyards and picnics at the park but recent times have seen dramatic shifts in the way people interact with and involve them in their lives.

With the onset of modern technologies, urban movement  closer to cities, smaller home block sizes with limited garden spaces and time-poor busy lifestyles it seems people have never been more disassociated with plants and gardens and the age-old joy of gardening. It is possible that many of us, including children can go for days without any real interaction with plants and gardens, all at a time when research continues to show significant benefits plants and gardens can have on improving our physical and mental health.

Perhaps it is time then for a little green intervention?

Consider these facts: An Ernst and Young study (Feb 2016) showed the average Australian now spends 10 hours and 24 minutes engaging with internet-connected devices (less time is spent sleeping), a National Health study conducted by the A.B.S 2014/15 has shown that 63.4% Australians are overweight or obese, with 27.4% of children overweight. Obesity has proven to increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes as well as impacting on a person’s mental wellbeing. Beyondblue have quoted that 3 million Australians are living with depression or anxiety.

According to the Australian Autism ADHD foundation “In 2012 the incidence of Autism in children between the ages of 5 and 9 in Australia was 1 in 32 children and the number of children being diagnosed with ASD has and is still growing at an alarming exponential rate”.  Their website also states “Most of the research nowadays is directed towards funding medical treatments and hopefully cures. However, the reality is that for Autism and ADHD, there have been no medical advancements in disease prevention, and there are no medical cures in sight. Research and clinical evidence suggests that ADHD management should start with lifestyle and dietary changes and individual supplementation of appropriate nutrients”.  Research has shown children with ADHD who spend 20 minutes or more in a green setting (such as parks and gardens) rather than concrete surrounds show fewer symptoms; providing relief for the child and their care givers. Exposure to trees and nature can reduce metal fatigue and aid concentration.

Gardens and gardening and interaction with plants and green spaces provide therapeutic and physical benefits to both our physical and mental health.  Active gardeners and lovers of the outdoors always talk up the benefits and now health studies worldwide are encouraging GP’s to prescribe gardening and gardens as support to traditional clinical referrals to help alleviate health symptoms.

As part of Garden Releaf 2018 we encourage you to provide a green intervention to yourself or a loved one; walk through or play in a garden and replace technology and concrete jungle with healthy outdoor activity surrounded by living greenery. .

Are you getting enough Garden Releaf, can a loved one benefit from more Garden Releaf?  Get involved by supporting #gardenreleafday2018 April 14, proudly supporting #beyondblue.

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