Gardening Is So Much More Than Digging In The Dirt!
When I think of gardening my immediate thoughts go to what I would like to grow.
Next I think of all the good food I will get from my garden and how I want to preserve, freeze, can or in some cases just make fresh food, like salsa to eat.
In all the cases I’ve just mentioned the food is beyond compare with almost anything you could buy at a store or even a farmers market. Fresher is always better!
But in this case the benefits of gardening don’t have anything to do with eating better or healthier foods.
Yeah, you get all that from a garden, sure, but the study below suggest that you could take all the fresh produce you get from your garden and just burn it! And you’d still be doing yourself a favor for your health.
Now, I’m not suggesting you burn anything and in fact if the simple act of working the soil and planting vegetables is that good for you how much better would it be if you ate the fresh produce to boot?!?
I’m sure there’s a study out there somewhere that covers off on that, but for now, it’s all about the benefits of the physical exercise you get while planting your favorite veggies.
“Pensioners who spend just half an hour a day gardening can reduce their risk of a fatal heart attack by more than half, a major study has found.
The study into 2,456 men and women, aged between 65 and 74, found that those with an active retirement had far lower death rates.
Until now, much of the evidence about the benefits of exercise in protecting the heart has come from studies into those who are young or middle-aged.
But the new study, presented yesterday at the world’s largest cardiac conference, suggested dramatic changes could be achieved later in life.
Participants were classed as having low levels of activity if they did less than four hours physical activity each week.
Credit: Denis Closon / Rex Features
They were compared with a group who were moderately active – taking light forms of exercise such as gardening, fishing, walking or cycling – for at least four hours weekly.
They were also tracked against a third group of high intensity exercisers – those who did running, swimming, ball games or were involved in intense sports competitions for at least three hours a week.
Overall, moderate physical activity for at least hour hours a week was associated with a 54 per cent reduction in deaths from heart conditions, with a 31 per cent drop in acute events such as heart attacks and strokes.
Those in the group who did even more vigorous activity did still better, with a 66 per cent reduction in heart deaths and a 45 per cent drop in acute events. Every year, 82,000 people suffer a heart attack in England.
“Our study provides evidence that older adults who are physically active have a lower risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, and death from cardiovascular disease.
“The protective effect of leisure time physical activity is dose dependent – in other words, the more you do, the better. Activity is protective even if you have other risk factors for cardiovascular disease such as high cholesterol.”
The 12-year study involved men and women who were enrolled into the National FINRISK Study between 1997 and 2007.
The research adjusted for other cardiovascular risk factors, such as blood pressure, smoking and cholesterol as well as social factors, including marital status and education levels.
Researchers also took steps to minimize the risk of “reverse causality”, where worse health was actually the reason for lower activity levels. As a result, patients with coronary heart disease, heart failure, cancer, or prior stroke at the start of the trial were excluded from the analysis.
Professor Antikainen urged pensioners to boost their exercise levels.
She said: “Physical exercise may become more challenging with ageing. However, it is important for older people to still get enough safe physical activity to stay healthy after their transition to retirement.”
Emily Reeve, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said: “This study highlights the importance of physical activity at any age, including the elderly.
“In order to keep their heart healthy and improve general health, older adults need to keep active and still aim to achieve a minimum of 150 minutes of aerobic activity every week.
“For some people, 150 minutes might seem like a lot, but this can be broken down into 10-minute sessions throughout the day that will easily build up.”
She also said elderly people should try to break up long periods of sitting, with light activities.
“We know that sedentary behavior is now considered an independent risk factor for ill health,” she said.
Last year, the charity revealed that UK adults were three times more likely to be inactive compared to those in the Netherlands.
Official data shows that walking levels in Britain have fallen by more than a third in three decades, with the average person walking for less than 10 minutes a day.
At the start of the study, participants were asked to provide information about their activity levels and other lifestyle habits and measurements of blood pressure, weight, height and cholesterol were taken.
Caroline Abrahams, charity director for Age UK, said: “There is a really strong body of research that demonstrates the importance of physical activity in later life.
“Even small amounts of physical activity can make a difference to a person’s health and can lower the risk of serious conditions such as heart disease, strokes and certain cancers.
“Not only does exercise add years onto our lives, it can improve your mood and help maintain independence.
“The important thing to remember is that it’s never too late to start, even increasing your daily physical activity by a small amount will benefit you at any age.” ” Curated from telegraph.co.uk
I really like the fact that people, no matter their age, can benefit from the physical activity involved with growing their own produce.
I can’t help but think, though, that if working the soil to grow fresh food hasn’t ever appealed to a person for all of the obvious reasons like fresh healthy produce, organic, non-GMO food, then is lowing the risk of a heart attack going to be enough? I really hope that it would be.
Another thing to consider is the cost of eating healthy. If you’ve been to the grocery store and browsed the fresh produce then you know that it isn’t cheap and you have to be careful of how much you buy, if you don’t plan to preserve any, because it goes bad relatively fast and you end up wasting a bunch of food, which like we said isn’t cheap.
The great thing about a lot of vegetables is they’ll keep while on the vine, so you can have a lot of fresh produce in your backyard without spending a bunch of money or having to worry so much about is spoiling and going to waste.
Being able to preserve fresh produce you grow is a great way to eat healthy, stay active and save your cash for something else. You don’t have to have any top secret recipes either, most produce is easily frozen by simply blanching it first.
What do you think? If a person never gardened would just one more benefit be enough?