The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul. –Alfred Austin
Many people find gardening a rewarding endeavor for a variety of reasons, but it’s actually so good for us in a lot of ways you may not have considered. The health benefits of gardening for seniors abound, but on top of that, tending a garden is just a lovely hobby that allows us to boost mental and physical health by turning the earth, planting, and even harvesting when the time comes.
A community garden is also just a great way to encourage residents at Rosewood to engage, socialize, and gain access to all those amazing benefits that come with gardening. The benefits of gardening for seniors Fort Oglethorpe include:
- Exercise. Did you know that pulling weeds and planting can help you burn 200 to 400 calories in an hour? Gardening is a great way for seniors to be active and get their bodies moving. The bending, stretching, and occasional squatting is good for the body.
- Muscle Strengthening. Gardening is also a great way for seniors to improve muscle strength. This low-impact activity requires just enough from the body to help seniors build up strength without being too intense.
- Reducing stress. The act of gardening can actually raise serotonin levels while also lowering the production of cortisol, the stress hormone. Gardening can also help improve hand-eye coordination, which is instrumental in keeping the body in sync.
- Maintaining a sharp mind. Gardening makes both physical and mental demands of us, as well as critical thinking skills. This activity can help to keep the mind sharp as senior gardeners think through what to grow, how to plant things, and how to care for the plants.
- Vitamin D! Of course, you want to be careful in the sun, wear sunscreen and maybe a sun hat while you tend the garden, some sun exposure is good for you. A few hours in the sunshine can actually give you more vitamin D than drinking a glass of milk! Sunshine is also just good for the soul.
For those who enjoy tending a garden and seeing the fruits of their labor, this can be the perfect avenue through which they can reap all the health benefits of gardening for seniors. Whether it’s a raised bed or a small container garden, the sense of joy that comes from busying your hands and mind in this way is truly amazing. There’s an ancient Chinese proverb that says “Life begins the day you start a garden.” That hits close to home for us.