Many centenarians around the world share a common interest: gardening. You can also extend your life and reduce stress in your life if you pursue this outdoor activity. Dan Buettner, an educator and author who has studied five locations around the world, where famous people have a long life, including Okinawa in Japan, Nicoya in Costa Rica, Icaria in Greece, Loma Linda. in California and Sardinia in Italy.
People living in these so-called “green areas” have some common characteristics, such as social support networks, daily exercise routines and a plant-based diet. Besides, they also have another unexpected thing in common, that people here are still actively gardening, even though they have reached the age of 80, 90 and more.
So, can nurturing gardening help us live to a hundred? And why? Probably everyone knows, an outdoor lifestyle with moderate physical activity can help us live longer, and gardening is an easy way to get both.
Buettner said there is evidence that gardeners often live longer and with less stress. A number of studies have confirmed this and point out the physical and mental health benefits of horticulture.
In a recent Dutch study, researchers asked participants to complete a fairly stressful task, then split them into two groups. One group read books indoors and the other group gardened outdoors for 30 minutes. The reading group’s mood worsened, while gardeners not only had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol, they also felt “fully recovered” and their mood improved.
Australian researchers who followed men and women in their 60s discovered that those who regularly gardened had 36% lower risk of dementia than those who did not.
There is no elixir that keeps us young, but science shows that gardening seems to improve the quality of our lives as we get older. The sense of connecting with others is important, but connecting yourself with nature is equally important. A Harvard University study found that people who live in an environment with lots of green, lush plants often live longer, have a lower risk of cancer or respiratory diseases.
Currently, Scottish doctors can ask patients to walk in the middle of nature to treat a variety of diseases, such as lowering blood pressure and anxiety, and to improve overall well-being. Gardening – even on a small plot of land in an urban area – is a simple way to integrate your daily life into the nature.