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Posts Tagged ‘mental stress’

“I was just sittin’ here enjoyin’ the company.  Plants got a lot to say, if you take the time to listen.” – Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh.

Are you looking to spend more time with your family?  Want to become more physically active?  How about needing to go to a place for peace, tranquility and relaxation?  Do you need to adopt better health habits?  Well, if you take the time to stop and “listen,” gardening just might be the activity you are looking for!

The health benefits of gardening include:garden pic

  • Increasing the chances of eating the amount of produce recommended in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
  • Consuming more plant-based foods which are associated with less risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
  • Becoming more physically active to reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes and some types of cancer.
  • Strengthening bones and muscles.
  • Improving physical functioning in older adults: helps keep hands strong and agile.
  • Reducing stress.
  • Being around nature which has the potential to lower blood pressure and boost the immune system.

Research and studies show the following:

  • Gardening 3-5 times a week has been found to be a good strategy to combat obesity and lower stress.
  • Patients with chronic musculoskeletal pain taking part in horticultural therapy programs experience an improved ability to cope with chronic pain.
  • Children with attention deficit disorder who play in grassy, outdoor spaces have less severe symptoms than those who play in windowless, indoor settings.
  • Patients with clinical depression who participated in routine therapeutic gardening activities experienced a reduction of severity of depression and increased attentional capacity —benefits that lasted up to three months after the program ended.
  • Dementia patients who have access to gardens are less likely to display aggression or suffer injuries, and they display improved sleep patterns, balanced hormones and decreased agitation.

What are some additional benefits of Gardening?

  • Nutrition Awareness – Impacting positive food choices.
  • Environmental Awareness – Teaching children about their environment. “Gardens are often the most accessible places for children to learn about nature’s beaugard picty, interconnections, power, fragility, and solace.” (Heffernan, M. (1994).
  • Life Skills – Increasing appreciation for nature, responsibility and development of family involvement.
  • Health and Wellness – Improving the quality of life.
  • Community Building and Social Connections through Community Gardens – Developing positive and friendly interactions with neighbors.

Some final thoughts about Gardening

“Gardening simply does not allow one to be mentally old, because too many hopes and dreams are yet to be realized.” – Dr. Allan Armitage

“In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.” – Margaret Atwood

“The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul.” – Alfred Austin

Yes, Eeyore, we need to “listen” because plants have a lot to say!

Written by:  Janet Wasko Myers, Program Assistant, Horticulture, Ohio State University Extension, Clark County, myers.31@osu.edu

Reviewed by:  Kathy Green, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Clark County, green.1405@osu.edu

Reviewed by:  Pamela Bennett, Extension Educator, Horticulture, Ohio State University Extension, Clark County, bennett.27@osu.edu

Sources:

The Ohio State University.  College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. News:  Chow Line:  Working in garden yields multiple benefits. https://cfaes.osu.edu/news/articles/chow-line-working-in-garden-yields-multiple-benefits

The Ohio State University.  College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.
News:  New OARDC Garden Will Help Study Links Between Plants and Health.
https://cfaes.osu.edu/news/articles/new-oardc-garden-will-help-study-links-between-plants-and-health

 

Michigan State University Extension.  What are the physical and mental benefits of gardening?  http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/what_are_the_physical_and_mental_benefits_of_gardening

Cornell University.  College of Agriculture & Life Sciences.  Learn, Garden & Reflect with Cornell Garden-Based Learning.
http://gardening.cals.cornell.edu

Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.    https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/

 

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baby laughing.

Could laughing more help prevent heart attacks?  Could this no cost, no side effect action really be part of the preventative action needed to keep one free from heart disease?

A team from the University of Maryland Center for Preventive Cardiology has started to document some proof of this very thing. In fact, this study which is the first to show a connection between an active sense of humor and laughter and heart disease found that people with heart disease were 40% less likely to laugh compared to others of the same age that did not have heart disease.

The key professor of medicine involved in this study, Dr. Michael Miller. M.D. explained the connection of mental stress with problems in the protective barrier lining that lines the blood vessels. An inflammatory reaction leads to fat and cholesterol build-up in the coronary arteries. This is what leads to heart attacks.

This study looked at 300 people, one half with heart disease and the other half without heart disease. Questionnaires that looked at how often people laughed in certain situations as well as anger and hostility indexes were used. The study showed that those with heart disease didn’t laugh at everyday situations as often and often displayed more anger.  Miller concluded that with heart disease being the number one killer of citizens, the ability to laugh may be one of the most important ways to decrease the disease.

Maybe someday the prescription for a healthy heart will include eating right, exercising and a good daily dose of laughter!

 

Source: http://www.umm.edu/features/layghter.htm.

Author: Liz Smith, Family and Consumer Science Extension Educator, Ohio State University.

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