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Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 63; doi:10.3390/su9010063

Community Gardens as Health Promoters: Effects on Mental and Physical Stress Levels in Adults with and without Mental Disabilities

1
United Graduate School of Agricultural Science, Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology, Saiwaicho 3-5-8, Fuchu, Tokyo 183-8509, Japan
2
Center for Field Science Research & Education, Ibaraki University, 3-21-1, Ami, Inashiki, Ibaraki 300-0393, Japan
3
Center for Medical Sciences, School of Health Sciences, Ibaraki Prefectural University of Health Sciences, 4669-2 Ami, Ami machi, Inashiki, Ibaraki 300-0394, Japan
4
Ibaraki Prefectural University of Health Sciences Hospital, 4733 Ami, Ami-machi, Inashiki, Ibaraki 300-0331, Japan
5
College of Agriculture, Ibaraki University, 3-21-1, Chuo Ami, Inashiki, Ibaraki 300-0393, Japan
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Marc A. Rosen
Received: 15 October 2016 / Revised: 27 December 2016 / Accepted: 28 December 2016 / Published: 5 January 2017
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Abstract

The study focuses on psychological and physical effects of stress while performing community garden activities of various intensity levels. The aim of this study was to determine the psychological and physical effects in adults with (case group) and without (control group) mental disabilities. Salivary α-amylase (sAA) levels and the stress response scale (SRS-18) were used for the psychological analysis (n = 42). For physical assessment (n = 13), electrocardiogram (ECG), surface electromyogram (sEMG), and respiration rate were continuously measured while performing the activities using a multichannel telemetry system. The results showed that following the activities, the case group exhibited decreasing sAA levels while control group exhibited increasing sAA levels. However, both groups exhibited lower SRS-18 results following the activities. Compared with the control group, the case group had a significantly lower increase in the ratio of the heart rate (IRHR) (5.5%) during low-intensity work (filling pots with soil), but a significantly higher IRHR (16.7%) during high-intensity work (turning over soil). The case group experienced significantly higher levels of fatigue during high-intensity work (digging) than during the rest condition. These findings indicate that appropriate workload allocation, according to health, is necessary in the community garden setting because reducing the intensity of work assignments for people with mental disabilities will reduce their physical stress. View Full-Text
Keywords: community gardens; mental disabilities; psychological stress; physical stress; salivary α-amylase; SRS-18; ECG; sEMG; breathing rate community gardens; mental disabilities; psychological stress; physical stress; salivary α-amylase; SRS-18; ECG; sEMG; breathing rate
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Dewi, N.S.; Komatsuzaki, M.; Yamakawa, Y.; Takahashi, H.; Shibanuma, S.; Yasue, T.; Okayama, T.; Toyoda, A.; Shimonishi, H.; Sasaki, S. Community Gardens as Health Promoters: Effects on Mental and Physical Stress Levels in Adults with and without Mental Disabilities. Sustainability 2017, 9, 63.

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