In Okinawa, they say that anybody who grows old healthfully needs an ikigai. Gardening can give you that something to get up for every day.
It is well-known that an outdoor lifestyle with moderate physical activity is linked to longer life, and gardening is an easy way to accomplish both. If you garden, you’re getting some low-intensity physical activity most days, and you tend to work routinely.
In a Dutch study, researchers asked participants to complete a stressful task, then split them into two groups. One group read indoors and the other gardened outdoors for 30 minutes. The group that read reported that their mood “further deteriorated”, while the gardeners not only had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol afterwards, they also felt “fully restored” to a good mood.
Australian researchers following men and women in their 60s found that those who regularly gardened had a 36% lower risk of dementia than their non-gardening counterparts.
And preliminary studies among elderly people suffering from cognitive issues (such as dementia and Alzheimer’s) report benefits from gardening settings and horticulture therapy. Sunlight and fresh air, for example, help agitated elders feel calmer, while the colours and textures of various plants and vegetables can improve visual and tactile ability.
There is no panacea for growing old but, the science suggests, gardening does appear to improve our quality of life as we age. At Honey Bee Homes we have a strong connection with the outdoors and gardening is an important part of everyday life. Early Autumn is our favourite time in the garden as the weather cools down, we have lush gardens full of natives, bee loving flowers and vegetables, as well has indoor plants giving us all a great sense of ikigari.
For more information on a day in the life of Honey Bee Homes, contact us – we’d love to hear from you.