Gardening offers much needed health benefits to younger adults

ANI| Last Updated: May 06, 2014, 09:56 AM IST

Washington: Researchers have said that gardening can not only enhance home and community landscapes and provide low-cost food sources, the level of physical activity required also offers a multitude of health benefits to young adults.

Studies have confirmed that engaging in gardening can lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and increase psychological well-being.

Researchers from Konkuk University and Hongik University in Seoul, South Korea, published a study in HortTechnology that evaluated the intensity of gardening activities for adults in their 20s.

Study's lead author Ki-Cheol Son said that the exercise intensity of physical activity may differ between age groups and fitness levels, and there was not enough data on the metabolic equivalents of gardening tasks in different age groups to develop a garden exercise program for maintaining or improving health conditions.

Fifteen university students in their 20s participated in the study in South Korea. Each subject performed 10 common gardening tasks in a high tunnel and in a nearby grassy area with a vegetable garden and weeds.

The subjects visited the garden plot twice and performed five gardening tasks during each visit; each task lasted for 5 minutes and was followed by a 5-minute rest. Subject wore a portable telemetric calorimeter and respired into the facemask during the gardening tasks and resting periods so researchers could measure their oxygen uptake.

The subjects also wore a heart rate monitor to record heart rate data during the gardening tasks and resting periods via radiotelemetry.

The research team evaluated the data and determined that all 10 gardening tasks were "moderate- to high-intensity" physical activities for the research subjects. Planting transplants, mixing growing medium, watering, harvesting, sowing, hoeing, mulching, raking, and weeding were all classified as "moderate intensity", while digging was a found to be a "high-intensity" activity and was the most intense task in study.