Whether you’ve developed a green thumb through years of hard work or you’re a gardening newbie, it’s always very tempting to dig into the dirt when you see the first flowers blooming in springtime. Some plants are certainly harder to maintain than others – try pansies and marigolds before you attempt orchids – but anyone can give gardening a go. Not only is it an inexpensive hobby, but also there are many benefits of gardening for seniors – including physical, mental, and social merits.
Benefits of Gardening for Seniors
Strengthen your muscles and burn calories.
The amount of exercise you receive from gardening will depend on the size of your garden and its needs, but gardening typically involves bending, walking, squatting, stretching, pulling, and lifting. It’s a great way to get your body moving on a regular basis. Even when you don’t need to plant, water, or weed, you might find yourself walking around your garden in your free time to enjoy the lovely scents and blossoms.
Make new friends.
Especially if you’re planning to start gardening at a retirement community, you’re sure to make some new friends when you share your interest in gardening. You could even start (or join) a gardening club. Not only does this provide social benefits, but also you’ll likely learn new things from green-thumbed friends.
Enjoy tasty herbs and veggies.
While there are some edible flowers, we’re focusing on herbs and vegetables with this benefit. If you choose to create a vegetable or herb garden, you can enjoy all of the advantages listed above and also eat the products of your hard work. If you’re just getting started, try planting a simple and versatile herb like basil.
Soak in some vitamin D.
Vitamin D increases your body’s ability to absorb calcium and promotes bone growth. It’s vital to humans’ health and wellbeing. Fortunately, all people have a convenient and abundant source of vitamin D in sunlight, and gardening provides a great excuse to get outside regularly. According to an Italian study, regularly gardening reduces the likelihood of vitamin D deficiency in seniors. Soak up that vitamin D, but don’t forget to protect yourself from UV rays as well by wearing a hat, sunglasses, and plenty of sunscreen.
Relieve stress. Enjoy relaxation.
Who wouldn’t like to feel a little less stressed? A Dutch study found that gardening lowers stress levels better than other hobbies, including reading indoors. This isn’t surprising when you think about all the elements gardening combines: being out in nature (or interacting with natural things, if you’re gardening indoors using pots), light exercise, and lovely smells and sights. After the study, participants were found to have lower levels of cortisol, a stress hormone.
Bring joy to others.
Whether or not you like to garden, you can’t deny that flowers, shrubs, and trees are beautiful. So by gardening in a communal place, you can bring smiles to the faces of everyone who sees the fruits of your labor.
Though we focused our attention on benefits of gardening for seniors, gardening is a rewarding hobby for people of all ages. Whether you’re planting an epic, enormous garden worthy of a French château or a simple potted flower, be sure to take some time to appreciate that your hard work has resulted in a flourishing plant.
Are you looking for an assisted living community in Tennessee? Check out Hearthside Senior Living in Bartlett. Our warm and inviting community makes it easy for seniors to embrace a healthy lifestyle, with home-cooked and restaurant-style meals, exercise classes, and a nurse devoted to residents’ health and wellness. To learn more about our amenities and services, please give us a call at 901-266-3329 or contact us online.