Election 2021

The Scottish Parliament is in recess ahead of the election on 6 May.

Because of Covid-19, there are some changes to how the Parliament prepares for the election.

Find out more in our Election 2021 pages

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Question ref. S5W-35308
Asked by: Finlay Carson, Galloway and West Dumfries, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party
Date lodged: 17 February 2021

Question

To ask the Scottish Government what role it believes gardening can play during the COVID-19 pandemic in helping people maintain good mental health and wellbeing.

Current status: Answered by Clare Haughey on 22 February 2021


Answer

The Scottish Government recognises the benefits of connecting with nature and exercising outdoors for physical and mental health and wellbeing. We appreciate the value of gardening as one of the many ways that people can be more active. Doing exercise and other physical activity can have a positive impact on your mood, improve your sleep, and reduce stress and anxiety.

The joint UK Chief Medical Officer Guidelines on Physical Activity specifically notes the role that heavy gardening can play in helping adults to do activities to develop or maintain strength in the major muscle groups and, for older adults, light activity such as easy gardening can help break up prolonged periods of being sedentary.

Reflecting the importance of the fundamental relationship between physical and mental health, the Scottish Government has committed to build on positive physical activity behaviour changes observed during the pandemic as part of the Mental Health Transition and Recovery plan.

In April 2020, we launched the Clear Your Head campaign, to help the population look after their own mental health and wellbeing. The campaign highlights the practical things people can do to help them feel better and cope with the restrictions during the coronavirus outbreak. The campaign encourages people to keep active and embrace nature, suggesting that this can be achieved through a variety of physical activities including gardening, or taking part in a virtual class when it is hard to get out.