It’s Official: Gardening Is The Best Hobby Post-Retirement For These Reasons
A recent study has found that people from certain parts of the world live longer than in other places. If you want to have a long and healthy life even post-retirement, you might want to know where are these places. So here is the list for you: Okinawa in Japan, Nicoya in Costa Rica, Icaria in Greece, Loma Linda in California, and Sardinia in Italy. But it might not be possible for most of us to relocate to these places all of a sudden.
So what is the next best thing we can do? Adopt the lifestyle of the people living in these cities. It has been found that those areas have a very supportive social network, they have plant-based diets, and they exercise daily. Apart from that, one other habit that was found common among these people is gardening. In fact, some continued it well beyond 90 years of age. Here are the various ways that gardening keeps us healthy and happy!
Works As A Good Physical Activity
Several diseases in old age can be linked to inactivity and being indoors a lot. Retirement does that to you at times, but if you choose a hobby that will involve some amount of physical activity, it will keep you fit and engaged. Gardening is one of those rare hobbies where you can do what you love, get some exercise, and bask in the warmth of the sun. Filling pots, mixing soil, watering plants, moving them around — all these will help your upper body stay fit and work your hands and arms muscles, too.
Elevates The Mood
It has been found that gardening decreases the level of the cortisol hormone which is also known for creating stress in our minds. In another research in Australia, it was found that people over 60 who did gardening compared to those who didn’t have a 36% lower chance of getting dementia in old age. Well, now you know how good mood and health are connected. Also, the long hours outdoors, being under the sun, and inhaling fresh air does wonder for your immune system. The best part is that there is a special kind of bacteria in the soil that releases serotonin in the brain which is a natural anti-depressant that also strengthens our immune system.
Encourages A Healthier Diet
Gardening is great for both the mind and body in so many ways. Apart from the obvious reasons, let’s think about the end results. Having vegetables in your own kitchen garden can be so much more satisfying. It encourages us to have more greens in our plates and even share some of the produce with other friends and family which, in turn, might even encourage them to have their own garden at home. Since these veggies are from your own garden, they don’t have any harmful pesticides nor are they genetically modified (GMO). Instead of getting store-bought, expensive organic vegetables, you can simply pluck some of your favorite vegetables from your garden. How cool is that?
Provides Other Therapeutic Benefits
Just looking at the garden for a few minutes can bring us a lot of peace and calms down our minds. Surrounding yourself with greenery and flowers have amazing therapeutic benefits. In fact, it even improves the healing process. No wonder hospitals and rehabilitation centers have beautiful gardens. We all must have noticed that when we are agitated, taking a walk in the garden or among nature helps us relax instantly. Hence, having a flower garden in front of your house or on your patio can be beneficial for more than one reason.
Gives You A Purpose In Life
Post-retirement, most seniors live a life without purpose. Their kids have grown up with their own families, and most senior citizens do not have to go to work every morning. Though there are community services and volunteer work available, they do not give their lives a sense of purpose. In Japanese, they call it “ikigai” – a reason for living. When you have plants at home, knowing that you have to take care of them and water them every morning gives you a sense of purpose. Since you don’t have any children to take care of, you can focus your attention in tending your tulips and roses.
It is incredible how just one single hobby can change your lifestyle and help you live better. Have you found your “ikigai” in life? Try gardening!
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