Are you looking to live happily and healthily up to 100 years? Researchers have found a secret amongst many of the world's centennials: gardening. Get ready to pull up your socks, take a shovel, get down to show love to your plants. They will love you back and help you drop your stress and live long.
Research in Blue Zones
Dan Buettner studied five blue zones around the globe where people live longer than 100 years on an average:
1. Okinawa in Japan
2. Nicoya Costa Rica
3. Icaria in Greece
4. Loma Lina in California
5. Sardinia in Italy
Blue Zones are places where people live longer than average. People living in these communities have certain factors in common:
a. strong social networks
b. daily physical activity habits
c. a plant-rich diet.
However, they also share an unexpected commonality. In every community, people are gardening well beyond 80 years of age.
Can nurturing your green thumb help keep you alive for longer?
If you garden, you're likely to get some low-intensity physical activities most days, and you're working regularly.
Gardening is an activity that helps you relax and enjoy life. It also helps you stay healthy and happy. Studies show that gardening improves your mood, reduces stress, and increases your sense of well-being. Gardening also helps you connect with nature and the environment around you.
A recent Dutch study found that spending time in nature helps reduce stress and restore our mental health. Researchers asked participants to complete a challenging task, then split them in half. Half were asked to read indoors and the other half to garden outdoors for 30 minutes. Those who spent time gardening reported feeling less stressed after the task, and even more so if they spent time in nature. Gardeners also showed lower levels of the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline.
Research in Australia with senior citizens
Researchers from Australia followed men and women in their sixties for ten years and found that those who gardened were less likely to develop dementia than those who didn't garden.
Studies show that gardening helps older adults with dementia and Alzheimer's disease. Gardens provide an environment that is calming and relaxing, and also offer opportunities for social interaction. Studies have shown that sunlight and fresh air help calm agitated elders, while the colors and textures of various plants can improve visual and tactile abilities.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution for growing older, but the science suggests that gardening may help us live longer.
Gardening is a great hobby for everyone. It helps you stay healthy, it improves your mental health, and it increases your life expectancy. Gardening is a great hobby because it gives you time to relax and enjoy yourself. You get to spend time outdoors, meet new people, and learn something new. Gardening is also a great hobby because it keeps you active. You will burn calories while working in your garden. You will also burn calories while watering your plants. Gardening is a hobby that will help you live longer.
Studies have shown that farmers are healthier than non–farmers.
Gardening is a great way to stay healthy and active. It also provides a sense of purpose and connection to others. People who garden tend to live longer and healthier lives.
Doctors in Scotland can prescribe a walk in nature for a wide range of ailments, including reducing high blood pressure and anxiety, improving overall happiness, and treating depression.
People need to feel connected to each other and nature. A study at Harvard University found that people who had access to green spaces lived longer and healthier lives. People who were surrounded by lush vegetation had less risk of developing cancer or respiratory illness.
In Scotland, doctors can now prescribe a walk through nature to help patients with a variety of health issues. Walking in nature helps reduce stress, improves mood, and increases energy levels. Even if you live in an urban area, gardening is a great way to incorporate more nature in your daily life.
Gardening + Plant-rich diet = Longevity
Finally, there is a dietary component to longevity which gardening can help with.
Researchers have shown that people who follow a plant-rich diet tend to live longer than those who don't.
In Okinawa, Japan, people eat a lot of vegetables. They eat them raw, cooked, pickled, fermented, and even frozen. They also drink green tea, which is believed to help prevent cancer.
“If you grow your own vegetables, you will get more vitamins and nutrients,” says Willox. Buettner, who wrote Blue Zones, recommends a diet of 90% plants, especially greens, beans, nuts and seeds. He also suggests eating local foods whenever possible. “It’s not just about the flavor,” he says. “It‘s about the nutrition.”
Farming for a longer life?
Farmers are often called "the original environmentalists" because they tend to be very conscious about the environment around them. Farmers are also among the healthiest people in the world. They tend to live longer than other groups, and they're less likely to suffer from heart disease, diabetes, cancer, stroke, and Alzheimer's.
Farmers are healthier than non-farming workers. A study in Australia found that farmers were a third more likely to avoid a chronic illness, and nearly 40 percent less likely to visit a doctor than non-farm workers, suggesting that farming may be one of the healthiest professions. Studies in the United States and France have also shown that farmers are healthier than nonfarmers.
In Japan, there are about 1 million self-employed farmers, and they tend to be older than other workers. These farmers often work part time, and they spend their days tending to gardens and growing vegetables. Some of them also sell produce at markets.
Gardeners and farmers are less likely to die from cancers, heart diseases, and diabetes
Researchers from the US looked at mortality rates among farmers and compared them to rates for the general population. They found that farmers were less likely to die from cancers, heart disease, and diabetes than people who weren't farmers.
“In Japan, small family farms are common,” says Gemmai. “We didn’t ask about farmers working for large-corporate operations. We found that self-employed farm owners enjoy statistically significant and positive changes before and after engaging in farming activities. Our guess is that farming work helps maintain good health and spirits.”
In the past, farming was done with simple tools and techniques. Nowadays, many farms are highly mechanised, using large tractors and other machinery to produce crops. Farmers often face difficult or dangerous working conditions. Many farms are also highly indebted, meaning that they owe money to banks and other lenders. These loans are usually repaid through the sale of crops. However, the increasing use of technology means that farmers can now automate many aspects of their operations. For example, they can use drones to monitor crops, and software to help them plan their activities.
"The reality of what agriculture in America is like is staring at a computer screen for as long as everyone elses, running systems for broilers houses or hog containment facilities or sitting in your air conditioned combine watching videos while you drive across monotonous GPS-precision guided fields."
It's difficult to view farming as a magical bullet against aging
Farming and gardening won't necessarily increase your life expectancy, but there are some lifestyle factors associated with both that may help you live longer. Going outside, engaging in light exercise and eating a healthy plant based diet are all lifestyle factors that may contribute to living longer.
Ultimately, it's all about finding a healthy balance between the different aspects of your life
“We need to get back to basics,” says Will Cox. “It’s not just about longevity, it’s about quality of life. We need to focus on what we can do to help ourselves, and not just wait for someone else to fix it.” He believes that the best way to achieve this is through lifestyle choices. “Lifestyle is the biggest determinant of health,” he says. “You can’t change your genes, but you can change your lifestyle.”
Dr. Vandana, Founder, UrbanMali.com