There Are Few Things More Enriching Than Connecting With Nature
Ask yourself this question: when was the last time you truly spent some quality time outdoors? We’re not just talking about taking a few minutes for a daily walk or a second to sit and watch the sunset, though these things do count as quality time. We’re talking about actually taking some time to mingle with dirt and soil to create something that will enrich both you and your landscape.
That’s right – we’re talking about gardening!
There’s a reason we mentioned gardening and planting a few different times in our 7 Earth Day Activities for Seniors article earlier this year. The benefits of gardening are plenty for humans of all ages, as well as the earth itself. Gardening for seniors can be especially beneficial to your health and well-being.
It’s true! Few things can provide you with a boost in your golden years like maintaining a garden. Today, we’re going to look at the many surprising health benefits of gardening for seniors.
Maintaining a Garden Can Reduce Stress and Boost Your Self-Esteem
It’s been known for a long time that gardening and mental health maintenance go hand-in-hand. There’s just something so incredibly satisfying about getting your hands dirty to beautify your landscape and grow nourishing food for your family. If you’ve never experienced the numerous mental health benefits of gardening, perhaps it’s time you got back to nature!
Gardening provides a sense of accomplishment in creating something that can better not only your life, but the lives of others. This creates a sense of happiness and provides an incredible boost to your self-esteem and mental wellbeing. Starting and properly maintaining a garden are not the easiest feats in the world. Being able to say you’ve nurtured a garden to the point where it’s thriving is truly a cause to give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back.
If you suffer from anxiety or depression, having a positive task that you can put your focus on helps to reduce symptoms of both. Properly planting and maintaining a garden both take a lot of focus, which can keep you from looking at more negative aspects of life. Besides, how can you not feel a sense of happiness and pride when you’re actively cultivating new plant life?
Gardening Can Help You Build and Maintain Strength, Endurance, and Cardiovascular Health
Essentially, gardening gives you a way to say that you’re exercising without actually saying that you’re “exercising”. This is why medical professionals see the health benefits of gardening as being numerous and plenty. A long day of gardening can provide you with the equivalent of several hours of moderate to vigorous resistance and cardio exercise in a gym.
When you’re planting and tending a garden, you’re in constant motion. There’s a lot of:
In other words, you’re performing a lot of the same actions you’d be performing if you were working with equipment in a gym. Gardening for seniors is a great way to help you get a full body workout. Not only will gardening help keep your heart strong, but it will also help you build and maintain strength in your hands, arms, legs, and back.
Gardening Can Bring the Family Together
Gardening can be a fun solo activity for sure, but it can be even more fun – and meaningful – if you’re able to involve family and friends. If you haven’t seen your loved ones in a while, gardening can be a way to bring everyone together. Working together to plant or tend a garden can create bonds that haven’t existed in years.
While you’ll certainly get a kick out of watching the little ones in your family play in the dirt (and laughter is a great stress reliever as well), gardening for kids can be just as beneficial as gardening for seniors. It gives you both plenty of time basking in the enriching sunlight, and early exposure to dirt has been linked to numerous health benefits for kids, from allergy reduction to lessening the risk of contracting autoimmune diseases.
Gardening Gives You a Great Opportunity to Eat Healthier
Produce from a store can be nourishing and healthy, but let’s face it: there’s nothing better for you than the produce you can produce in your own garden. Growing your own fruits, vegetables, or herbs gives you the satisfaction of knowing that your produce hasn’t been treated with pesticides. Pesticides are a common issue with the produce found in many mass-market grocery stores, and have been linked to onset of illnesses and other health issues.
It never hurts to add more fruits and vegetables to your diet. When you grow them in your own garden, you not only have the convenience of being able to access them whenever you want, you achieve the satisfaction of having grown and tended them yourself.
Experience the Greater Benefits of Gardening
As you can see, the benefits of gardening for seniors are plenty. Gardening can provide a major boost to mental and physical health, and it promotes healthier choices when choosing foods to eat. Whether you’re still living independently or you’re living in a facility, try to find some way to get involved in gardening today. You’ll be glad you did!