I know we have a lot of gardeners in the group, some of you may just love to work in your own gardens and some of you are also heavily involved in the the Collingwood Gardening Club.  Either way, this article from the BBC is a great reminder of the health benefits of gardening.

Blue Zones are areas in the world where people have low rates of disease and live longer than any where else in the world.  These longevity hotspots  include — the Barbagia region of Sardinia, Italy; IkariaGreeceOkinawa, Japan; the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica; and Loma Linda, California. People in these blue zones regions not just live longer, but they live better.

One of the common threads in these areas in gardening!

Gardening is great low intensity physical activity, that requires some daily routine.

Some of the other benefits that are less obvious are mental health benefits including mood boosting, decreasing stress and 36% less dementia!

There are social benefits as well.  Gardening gives you a reason to live and it can help you connect with others, whether it is at local markets or gardening clubs.

Gardening also helps you connect with nature.  We are hearing more and more about “Forest Bathing” as a healthy practice.  Being out in our gardens gives us a reason to hear the sounds of the nature, the scent of the trees, the sunlight playing through the leaves, the fresh, clean air — these things give us a sense of comfort.

Gardening and growing our own food is another way to help us eat more fruits and vegetables which is another part of the longevity puzzle.  We all know the produce we grow ourselves tastes so much better and we are more likely to eat it, increasing the fruit and vegetables in our diets.

Dr. Bradley Wilcox uses a chair analogy to describe the 4 factors we must keep in balance to live a long life, all of which gardening can help us with.  Each factor is the leg of a chair and if you don’t have one of them, you can fall out of balance and shorten your life expectancy.  The 4 factors are: Diet (high in fruits and vegetables), physical activity, mental engagement, and social connection.

So, you are not a gardener and how do we manage in the winter months in Canada?  Well, coming to class will certainly help you achieve many of these factors.  Class is more than just the physical activity.  We connect with others and try to have some fun.  We have to think about the movements and counts reps and set (which is sometimes confusing), so our brains are certainly engaged.  We often discuss diet.

Most importantly, coming to class will certainly get you in shape and keep you in shape through out the winter to be garden ready when spring arrives.

To read the full article, click here:

Gardening could be the hobby that helps you live to 100

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