Exercise that includes gardening and exercise reduces disease risk: Study.


Opinion

Gardeners look forward to seed packets and planting time, careful tending, and bountiful harvests. But research suggests another reason to look forward to gardening: improving your health.

A Research According to the journal Lancet Planetary Health, people who participate in community gardening programs eat more fiber and get more exercise than their counterparts who don’t garden. Both of these factors are related to better health.

While there is a lot of research on gardening, the researchers said, they found only three other studies that examined the effects of gardening on disease risk, randomly assigning participants to groups that did and didn’t garden and comparing their health.

In this case, the researchers conducted a study at 37 community parks in Denver and Aurora, Colo. After raising awareness of the program in various neighborhoods, they recruited those on a waiting list for the study. All 291 participants were adults and had not had a garden in the past two years. More than half come from low-income families.

The group dedicated to gardening is given an introduction to gardening, seeds, seedlings and gardening education. Those assigned to the non-gardening group were given the same agreement during the next gardening season. All participants were given health surveys that looked at factors such as body weight, waist circumference, physical activity and diet.

During the study, researchers found that gardeners ate more fruits and vegetables than their peers, increasing their consumption by 1.13 servings per day. They consumed 1.4 grams more fiber per day than the control group and increased their fiber intake by 7 percent over the course of the program. They were slightly more active during the study, increasing their moderate to vigorous physical activity. Gardeners reported less stress and anxiety than their gardener counterparts.

Although the results were modest, the researchers said they are the types of small changes recommended by experts to reduce the risk of chronic disease. Smoking, poor nutrition, and a sedentary lifestyle all contribute to that risk.

“These findings provide compelling evidence that community gardens play an important role in preventing cancer, chronic disease and mental health disorders,” said Jill Litt, professor of environmental health at the University of Colorado and senior author of the paper. News release.

The researchers, who received funding from the American Cancer Society, say community gardening is worth a closer look as a potential health intervention in urban areas.



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