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Gardening, the answer to a long life

Sometimes the answers are right in front of us.

Dan Buettner has travelled and studied people living regions considered as "Blue zones". Those living in these areas had multiple lifestyles habits in common – daily exercise, plant-based diets and gardening. It is widely understood that physical activity and an outdoor lifestyle have a positive correlation with living a longer life. Gardening incorporates both things. Buettner claims that there is evidence that those who garden, live longer lives. Studies have found that gardening has both mental and physical benefits. 

A study conducted in Holland found that those assigned to gardening for 30 minutes were less stressed than those in assigned to reading indoors. While Australian researchers focused on individuals in their 60s found those that routinely gardened had a 36% lower risk of neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia than individuals who did not garden. Furthermore, preliminary studies among elderly individuals with neurodegenerative diseases has found that gardening is beneficial. Interestingly, Scottish doctors can now prescribe walks to improve overall happiness and to treat medical problems including blood pressure and anxiety.

Although there are mental and physical benefits, gardening also has social benefits. Dr Bradley Willcox of the University of Hawaii says that gardening helps with other essential factors associated with longevity. He continues that in Okinawa, a place with the world’s highest ratio of centenarian, gardening gives people a reason to wake up and start their days. Willcox explains that concept of yuimaru is achieved, through gardening, people can socialise at their local markets, ensuring they feel connected.

Researchers have found that consuming what you or others have growth also has a positive association with longevity. This conclusion was drawn from the connection between the “Mediterranean diet” and slower aging. Although Willcox argues that simply consuming locally grown vegetables is contributes to longevity.

Although aging and death are inevitable, through gardening we can benefit from the useful lifestyle habits that will ultimately help us to live longer and happier lives.

Is a wearable fitness tracker or a packet of seeds the best motivation to change your life? That will depend on you. There are usually several good approaches to improvement - and they don't all rely on the internet of things. 

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