One activity proven to fight stress that leads to premature aging and chronic conditions that accompany the aging process – is gardening. Evidence exists which proves that gardeners may live up to 14 years longer than non-gardeners.
That’s an impressive reason to take up gardening as an activity in your own life. In studies of areas where life expectancy far out-performs the norm for the rest of the world, the findings were definitely linked back to gardening as one reason these people enjoyed a longer and healthier life span.
These areas have been named “blue zones,” and exist in pockets all over the world. There are many factors involved in the findings, but there are key issues that stand out more than others.
Gardeners get certain nourishment, not just from eating the bounty of their gardens, but from touching the soil from which the garden produces the food. Touching the actual soil with your bare hands can help to build positive energy resulting from the positive elements contained in the soil.
Those who never have contact with the earth miss that crucial way to prevent disease and to benefit from all that the earth offers. As you age, contact with the earth becomes even more vital and beneficial to your life and your feelings of well-being.
Studies find that aging patients suffering from depression and anxiety can sometimes stop taking prescription medications after taking up gardening in their lives. A new trend among doctors is to issue so-called “green prescriptions,” which means to go outdoors, get some sun (vitamin D) and dig in the dirt to create flowers, vegetables or simply a beautiful spot to meditate.
Many long-term health care facilities for the aging now use gardening to help with conditions such as stress, depression and Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. A bit of gardening may also help reduce high blood pressure and alleviate food cravings leading to obesity.
Another definite benefit to gardening is the socializing it allows. It’s simply a natural process to want to share your ideas and gardening successes with others. The bounty of a garden also provides beauty for your space and healthy food for your diet.
Community garden projects are popping up all over the country. Residents can socialize, help plant and harvest the garden and get a dose of therapeutic gardening as often as they like.
So many negative processes occur in our bodies as we age and gardening is one way to combat the natural process of aging while enjoying an activity that’s enormously advantageous to our mental and physical well-being.
Check out your local library, online sites and gardening stores to find out which type of garden you’d like to try. If you’re a beginning gardener, start small – perhaps with some containers so as not to overwhelm you and make you give up.
Whether you have a patio or window sill – or a plot of land in which to try your luck at gardening, consider it as a healthy and beneficial addition to your daily exercise and mental focus.