Get ready to live longer by gardening. Recently I read the book, “The Blue Zones” by Dan Buettner and one of the biggest takeaways to living a longer healthier life is by gardening. Also, if you haven’t read this book I highly recommend it! The book discusses research on the blue zones, areas that have longest living healthiest populations and what they all may have in common. Thus, this article was born as gardening is connected to longevity.
Live Longer by Gardening – The Positive Effects
Gardening generally involves being outside which is amazing for the body! Being outside, specifically in the sunshine, increases your vitamin D levels and can actually help you feel better and boost your immune system.
Gardening is a low impact activity to get you moving, meaning almost anyone can do it and can enjoy the benefits of physically moving their body. In fact, AARP states, “Researchers tracked more than 2,800 people over the age of 60 for 16 years and concluded that physical activity, particularly gardening, could reduce the incidence of dementia in future years.”
Digging in the dirt can help you destress. An article by CNN quotes a study on gardening in the Netherlands, stating, “After completing a stressful task, two groups of people were instructed to either read indoors or garden for 30 minutes. Afterward, the group that gardened reported being in a better mood than the reading group, and they also had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.”
Not only can getting your hands dirty help you destress, but it may actually help treat depression and other mood disorders. Numerous studies have showed a positive link between gardening and improved mental health. Additionally, the bacteria Mycobacterium vaccae, which is commonly found in soil, has been found to increase the release and metabolism of serotonin in parts of the brain that control cognitive function and mood — much like serotonin-boosting antidepressant drugs do.
There is nothing better than plucking a fresh herb or juicy tomato from your very own garden and enjoying the literal fruits of your labor. The closer you are to your food the more nutritious and the better it tastes, yum!
Gardening for Newbies – Getting Started
I would never claim to be a gardening expert, but I definitely don’t mind getting dirty and using my wishful green thumb! I am constantly learning about what works and what doesn’t and it is definitely a bit disheartening when something just doesn’t work out. For example, this year my garden was beyond underwhelming…I started hundreds of seedlings in my home this March. I thought I cared for them very well and after weeks of tending my little seedlings I watched as nothing happened. Literally, not one of the seedlings grew! I almost cried, but I learned a valuable lesson about lighting and will definitely change up my seedling location next time.
Therefore, the best advice I can give is just try and know that you will probably fail sometimes, and that is all just part of the process.
7 Simple Tips to Start Gardening:
- Start small – Try starting with some herb plants in your kitchen window.
- Easy low maintenance plants – Definitely start with easy to grow plants such as tomatoes – It will be a huge ego boost to grow something the very first time you plant.
- Water and sunlight – Remember that your plants need basics, water and sunlight. FYI, Most edible plants, including many vegetables, herbs, and fruits, need at least 6 hours of sun in order to thrive.
- Soil – The soil matters so make sure you invest in a high quality soil.
- Choose the right plants – Do a bit of research and choose the right plants for the conditions you live in.
- Know your zone – Know what zone you live in as this will help you choose the right plants.
- Just do it – Don’t over think it, just get started and be prepared to learn a lot as you go!