There isn’t any globally agreed panacea for aging gracefully. However, various studies seem to point to gardening as one activity that does improve our health as we age.
Working in the dirt is a fast way to reduce stress or feelings of anxiety. In a study conducted in Dubbo, New South Wales, researchers found that elderly men and women gardening in Australia had a 36% lower risk of dementia than those who never got dirt under their nails.
Plus, through gardening you get a regular supply of wholesome vegetables for your kitchen and beautiful flowers you can use in your living room. Still on the fence about whether this is the hobby for you? Here are some beneficial effects gardening has on your health.
A gardening lifestyle means you develop a healthy routine of going out in the sun daily. This means increased exposure to vitamin D, especially for the elderly who probably don’t go out too often. Increased vitamin D levels lead to increased calcium absorption, which supports bone density and the immune system.
Note: Don’t forget to use sunscreen to protect yourself from sunburn!
Studies show that the combination of fresh air and sunlight can help reduce feelings of anxiety. To reduce the stress of kneeling or bending while in the garden, tools for the elderly gardeners are available such as the multifunctional garden kneeler seat. These sorts of tools also come in handy for those who find it difficult to help themselves up after bending down.
Keep in mind that, more than fancy clothes or cosmetic enhancements, having a calm spirit and a positive personality are the characteristics of someone aging gracefully. Gardening is one activity that helps you cultivate these qualities.
Most elderly individuals struggle to find socialization opportunities upon retirement. Community gardens are an excellent opportunity for these individuals to connect with their peers and collaborate on weeding, maintenance, and management of the garden.
Working in these sorts of gardens is a great way to boost their self-esteem, and reduces any feeling of loneliness they would face if they otherwise spent most of the day indoors. It also indirectly promotes good health.
Gardening can be a moderate to vigorous physical exercise for anyone involved. Digging and shovelling could be considered vigorous activities while raking and clearing dead leaves could be termed as light to moderate exercises.
The main point here is working in your garden for at least 30 minutes 3-4 times a week can prevent or lower high blood pressure. You also build strength and burn calories. These two benefits lead to improved sleep quality.
Gardening can induce calm after stressful conversations or events. A 2010 study showed that participants who gardened consistently could recover from stress faster than individuals who didn’t garden. It’s closely related to the “earthing” phenomenon — where individuals are encouraged to walk barefoot or do any activity that brings them in close contact with the ground. If you are looking to avoid taking medications, gardening is an all-natural medication for stress.
A 2006 study in New South Wales, Australia found that you could lower the chance of suffering from dementia by 36% by taking up gardening. It’s termed horticultural therapy and has become quite a thing in recent times.
Countries such as Norway and Netherland have innovative therapy programs called Greencare. Participants spend most of the day working in gardens and farms.
It may not stop the clock but gardening can surely help us in aging gracefully and living longer and healthier. Excited to start? Check out our GardenWizardShop.com for the best deals on specialised gardening tools.
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