Healthy Benefits of Gardening
If you sit outside, you get lots of fresh air. Take a walk, and you keep those legs moving and your heart pumping. Pull out the knitting needles or the sewing kit and you’re supporting the dexterity of your hands. Indulge in a pursuit that ignites your passion, and you’ll lift your spirits while stimulating your brain. Hard to imagine one activity that could boast all of those physical and mental rewards.
Unless that activity is gardening.
The physical and psychological benefits of gardening cannot be overstated. For starters, as a low impact exercise, it involves stretching, bending, squatting, and twisting, all of which improve balance and joint flexibility. Gardening also soothes the soul and relieves stress as it connects participants to the beauty and serenity of the outdoors.
As a senior who has enjoyed a lifelong passion for gardening, you may worry that age-related issues will interfere with your ability to stop and plant the roses. But thanks to options like container gardens, window boxes, and patio pots, those limitations can be easily accommodated without impacting the joy of the experience. That flexibility also makes gardening a wonderful new hobby for active adults looking to expand their horizons.
Follow these simple common sense guidelines and all the benefits of gardening will be but a trowel of soil away.
- Protect your skin from the elements with plenty of sunscreen—especially on the lips, a generous dose of bug repellent and a hat that really covers. FYI, If your grandkids are not making fun of that hat, it is not big enough. Complete the ensemble with sturdy shoes, sunglasses, and gardening gloves.
- Try to get outside in the mornings and evenings when the temperatures are cooler and the sun is less of an issue.
- Have plenty of water handy to maintain hydration.
- Get a better grip on gardening tools by wrapping foam around the handles or sliding foam tubing on them to make them thicker and easier to control. Try adding bright colored tape so they will be easy to find if dropped.
- Rotate activities to avoid overtaxing any particular muscle group. Remember to bend at the knees and hips to avoid back injury.
- Check out some of the great gardening products specifically designed for seniors, such as kneeling benches, ergonomic tools and rolling scooters that can make life in the garden even more fun.
- If there are a few tasks that require a little extra oomph, get the kids and grandkids involved. It will be great quality time together.
- If your current living situation does not include space for a backyard garden, add a few pots to your patio or become part of a community garden group. You’ll enjoy the gardening and the team spirit.
Whether planting and pruning in solitude or enjoying the company of other enthusiasts, gardening is a pastime that engages the mind and body in a myriad of positive ways.
So get out there and find your bliss among the flowers and greenery. Ready, set, garden!