A new long-term study has shown that leisure-time physical activities like gardening can be just as healthy as going to the gym. Yes, you read that right. You may not be able to squeeze in 2.5 hours of gym time a week, but if you can garden or do some other relaxing leisure-time activity, you may be able to gain similar physical and emotional benefits.
A study that involved researchers from China, Texas, and North Carolina looked tat leisure-time physical activities that were done every week in varying amounts and compared their analysis to risks of different forms of death that included heart diseases and cancers.
The researchers used 11 years of data and almost 90,000 people, all from the National Health Interview Survey that is annually conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The scientists say that leisure-time physical activity can include several different activities people might find more enjoyable than going to a gym and working out; simply going for walks, dancing, or gardening can be beneficial when compared to a sedentary lifestyle.
The research showed that when people engaged in such leisure-time physical activities for anywhere between 10 minutes and an hour a week, compared to those in sedentary lifestyles, the risk of dying during the survey period was 18% lower. For those who participated in more leisure-time physical activity, the risks decreased even more. Engaging in 150-299 minutes of physical activity a week gave a 31% decrease in all-cause mortality rates.
We know that gardening offers positive health benefits; gardening hsa been linked to decreases in anxiety, depression, and body mass index. As well, gardening has been found to increase life satisfaction, quality of life and even give a person a greater sense of belonging to the community. For the elderly, gardening has been linked to lower stress levels, fewer falls, and even less need for medications.
So get on those gardening boots and gloves (or whatever you need for your own preferred leisure-time physical activity) and get yourself healthier. The earth will thank you too!
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