Advertisement

The Hobby That Leads to a Longer Life

The Hobby That Leads to a Longer Life

A hobby is more than a way to pass the time. It may be a way to get more of it.

Know which hobby has probably added years to the longest-lived people in the world? It's gardening. Okinawans—whose men typically live to age 78, women to age 86—have a long tradition of working with soil.

Flex your green thumb
The benefits of gardening reach body and soul, according to Dan Buettner and his book The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who've Lived the Longest. "It's a source of daily physical activity that exercises the body with a wide range of motion and helps reduce stress," he writes. So, as the ground thaws and the seed catalogues start arriving, make a pact to plan—and plant—a plot this year.

Grow for years
It's not a coincidence: There are lots of other wonderful side benefits to gardening besides the body and mind boost. Here are the other garden goodies Buettner notes in his book:

  • A veggie-packed life. Okinawan centenarians eat a plant-based diet, often incorporating vegetables that they grow.
  • A bit of sun. Vitamin D, produced by the body when it's exposed to sunlight, promotes stronger bones and better health.
  • A dash of spice. Mugwort, ginger, and turmeric are staples of an Okinawan garden, and all have proven medicinal qualities.
  • Take the first steps to growing younger and healthier with the RealAge Test.

Medically reviewed in April 2018.

5 Easy Ways to Live Longer
5 Easy Ways to Live Longer
In 2005, Michael Roizen, MD, and Mehmet Oz, MD, came out with their hugely popular book YOU: The Owner’s Manual, which challenged preconceived notions...
Read More
Why can cutting your daily caloric intake increase your lifespan?
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MDDr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Humans can't live reasonably by cutting 30 or 40 percent of their calorie intake like a laboratory r...
More Answers
5 Myths About the Fountain of Youth
5 Myths About the Fountain of Youth5 Myths About the Fountain of Youth5 Myths About the Fountain of Youth5 Myths About the Fountain of Youth
Separate fact from fiction when it comes to anti-aging.
Start Slideshow
3 Creamy Snacks That Boost Your Health
3 Creamy Snacks That Boost Your Health