Gardening counteracts signs of dementia and heart disease

Gardening counteracts signs of dementia and heart disease

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Light gardening improves well-being and improves our health
Garden enthusiasts have long claimed that gardening is good for your health and helps you relax. In addition, such people believe that digging and weeding, for example, will help them stay fit longer. Researchers have now found that these people may be right. Because gardening actually helps against early signs of dementia and heart disease.

Scientists found in an investigation that doctors should advise their patients with early dementia or signs of heart disease more often to do more light gardening. This type of work not only brings health benefits to the sick, but also improves well-being. The doctors published the results of their study in the journal "The Kings Fund".

Gardening for the maintenance of the circadian rhythm
A well-kept garden is usually nice to look at. However, this garden could bring other advantages for its owners. Gardens and outdoor spaces offer people with dementia access to natural light, which is important for maintaining the so-called circadian rhythm, the authors of the study explain. The doctors suggested that the British National Health Service (NHS) set up horticultural projects for its patients. Gardens are an exceptional national resource, as almost 90 percent of British households have their own garden and half of the population are hobby gardeners, the researchers explain. We should take even more care of our gardens to maximize the improvement in our health, the authors continued.

Reduced risk of heart disease, cancer and obesity
The researchers explain that regular gardening also reduces the risk of heart disease and the likelihood of cancer and obesity. In addition, this type of employment improves balance, doctors add. Gardening could even help prevent falls in older people. There are also other older studies that claim that depression, loneliness, anxiety and stress can be reduced through gardening, the researchers report. A study had shown that gardening in people with dementia as early as six months can slow the cognitive decline in the next 18 months. Gardens touch our senses, especially through their smells, which is very important for people with dementia, the experts explain.

Doctors should use gardening to prevent diseases
The doctors suspect that digging in the garden for half an hour burns about 150 calories. Experts estimate that raking at the same time burns 120 calories and pushing the lawn mower burns even 165 calories. A wealth of evidence links gardens and gardening with a wide range of positive health outcomes, explains lead author David Buck. It is now important to build on these findings and to get politicians to use gardening to prevent diseases, the doctor adds.

Gardening improves the general mood and relieves tension
In recent years, surveys by the universities of Westminster and Essex have suggested gardening for about 30 minutes a week to boost self-esteem and general mood, the researchers report. In addition, it is possible to relieve tension by light work in the garden and to reduce feelings such as depression, anger and confusion. The therapeutic effect of gardening or simply spending time outside in the garden is good for our well-being, the scientists say. (as)

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