Allotment Gardening and Other Leisure Activities for Stress Reduction and Healthy Aging
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This study explored the potential benefits of allotment gardening for healthy aging, focusing on the opportunities for outdoor physical activity, social support, and contact with nature that allotment gardening provides. Participants included 94 individuals aged between 50 and 88 years who were members of various indoor and outdoor activity groups. The participants completed physiological measures and psychometric scales of self-rated health, perceived stress, physical activity level, and perceived social support. A significant difference in perceived stress levels was observed between the activity groups. Allotment gardeners reported significantly less perceived stress than participants of indoor exercise classes (P < 0.05). As there were no significant differences in reported levels of social support and physical activity, explanations for the allotment gardeners' lower stress levels focus on the potential contribution of engagement with nature and psychological restoration. These findings represent a step toward understanding the benefits of allotment gardening activity as a health-promoting behavior in later life
Hawkins, J.L., Thirlaway, K.J., Backx, K. and Clayton, D.A. (2011) 'Allotment gardening and other leisure activities for stress reduction and healthy aging', HortTechnology, 21(5), pp.577-585.
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