Gardening makes you live longer!

Date Posted: 29 January 2020

What makes people live longer?...

This has been a question posed by mankind throughout history, but recent studies have made a link with people that live longer being gardeners!

Dan Buetter amongst four other areas he studied around the world pinpointed Okinawa in Japan as being an area where people live well into their 90's and beyond. In fact, according to a recent article by Justin McCurry in The Guardian (Friday 14th December 2019) the number of Japanese people living who are aged over 100 is a staggering 70,000! 

The people living in the 5 areas Buettner studied share common traits such as good excercise regimes, plant based diets and good social support networks. However in addition to that, in each of these locations people are gardening well into their old age.

If one thinks about it, gardening makes great sense as a healthy hobby. Outside getting copious quantities of vitamin D, essential for keeping bones, teeth and muscles healthy and maintaining a good immune system, while providing theraputric benefits which can help reduce stress levels. According to Buettner 'If you garden, youre getting some low intensity physical activity most days, and you tend to work routinely'

Other studies support this hypothesis. Dr Bradley Willcox of Univerity of Hawaii has also focused on Centenarians in Okinawa, Japan where many residents maintain small personal gardens well into old age. There is a belief that people need a 'reason for living' or ikigai, and that gardening can give many people this focus. According to Willcox 'Gardening gives you something to get up for every day'

Another Japanese value is yuimaru, the need for a high level of social connectedness. Again, gardening gives people this opportunity. You can share in your ideas, and in the fruits of your labour with your friends and family.

With so many studies pointing to the fact that gardening is a hobby or a lifestyle which goes hand in hand with people living longer there must be some truth to it. The fact that the Japanese are such avid gardeners and also live to such old age cannot be mear coincidence!

If you are advancing in years Japeto advises you to get out there and get gardening!


Credit to: 'Gardening could be the hobby that helps you live to 100' BBC Worklife, 10th December 2018