Health Benefits of Seniors Gardening

Happy grandmother gardening on a sunny day

Health Benefits of Seniors Gardening

April 11th, 2022

Puttering away in your beloved garden may feel like idle pleasure time, but the truth is, you’re probably enjoying more health benefits of gardening than you even realize.

 

What Are the Benefits of Gardening?

A hobby like gardening offers a surprisingly long list of advantages for your mental health and physical wellness — not to mention the bounty in the form of produce or beautiful flowers you can enjoy even when you’re back indoors.

 

Natural Vitamins

Generally, gardening is an outdoor activity, and that means you’re getting a healthy dose of natural sunlight when you’re spending time in the garden. Being outdoors is a terrific natural source of vitamin D, which your body uses to absorb calcium and protect your bone health. Vitamin D is also good for the immune system and promotes brain activity and muscle function.

 

 Anti-Workout Workout

If you’re not much for formal exercise, take heart in knowing a hobby like gardening actually counts as physical activity, even if you’re enjoying it so much you don’t notice your heart rate creeping up. While not all gardening chores fall in the moderately vigorous category recommended for optimal health, more involved activities like raking, digging, lifting, and carrying garden supplies are all strong contenders.

 

Balance and Endurance

Even the most basic gardening tasks have you walking, bending and shifting your weight as you tend to your plot. If you’re moving slowly, those actions still rely on muscle coordination and strength, all of which help you build balance and support your endurance for extended periods of activity. That means you can count a lower fall risk and better mobility among the health benefits of gardening.

 

 Heart Health

While you’re gardening, you’re likely reaping the heart health benefits of gardening. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most seniors should aim for at least 150 minutes (30 minutes at least five days a week) of moderate physical activity. Doing so puts you at lower risk for heart disease and stroke; it also can reduce blood pressure and cholesterol. An activity typically counts as moderate if you’re breathing harder and your heart beats faster; think a 5 or 6 on a scale of 1 to 10.

 

Disease Defense

The exercise you get while gardening can also help ward off other common diseases and medical conditions, such as diabetes and some forms of cancer. These health benefits of gardening may be linked, in part, to the positive relationship between regular physical activity and weight loss.

 

Stress Buster

Studies show spending time in nature can produce physiological benefits for your body. As little as 20 to 30 minutes in a nature setting, such as a garden, is enough to reduce stress — or, more precisely, your cortisol level, which is a significant stress hormone. Keeping stress under control isn’t always easy, but it plays a bigger role in wellness than many people realize.

 

Boosts Mood

The earthy smell blending with vine-ripe produce, the sounds of birds chattering and the graceful beauty of fresh blooms opening to the sun’s rays. These sensory experiences alone may be enough to raise your spirits, but the chance to focus your mental attention on something other than your worries certainly doesn’t hurt. Some research even suggests the smell of dirt can trigger your brain to release serotonin – a feel-good hormone. What’s more, gardening can give you a sense of purpose or sense of empowerment, and doing something meaningful to pass your time is powerful for your mental health.

 

Bonding Experience

Gardening may be an activity you enjoy alone, but it’s also a potential source of social connectivity. It could be the basis of a friendship with someone who shares your passion and green thumb. Similarly, participating in a gardening club gives you even broader social ties, which help prevent loneliness and play an important role in older adults’ overall mental and physical health.

 

Memory Support

A growing body of research shows connections between lifestyle choices and the delayed onset of dementia. In fact, researchers believe a reduced risk of developing dementia is among the health benefits of gardening.

 

Enjoy Retirement in Full Bloom

Retirement is the time in your life when you’ve earned the right to spend each day as you wish. It’s your chance to fulfill lifelong dreams and enjoy all the beauty life has to offer. At Garden Plaza of Florissant, we take care of life’s details so our residents get the most out of every day.

 That may mean dropping in on our weekly Garden Club meetings, or taking advantage of other events on our dynamic activity calendar. You’ll find dozens of ways to promote your long-term health and wellness with our generous selection of services and amenities. Contact us to learn more about our resident-centered senior living community and our steadfast commitment to preserving dignity, self-respect, and resident rights in a loving and caring environment.

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