A rich and plentiful garden in bloom can be lovely to look at, but did you know that there are a multitude of health benefits of gardening for seniors? Studies show that getting your hands dirty in the garden is a fantastic way to boost physical health and mental wellbeing and has an overall positive effect. The good news is you don’t need a large space to garden! If you live in a unit or assisted living community, you can create a wonderful garden in your courtyard or even on a balcony using potted plants, flowers, or perhaps an edible herb garden. The options are endless.
Here, we discuss gardening and 5 positive effects on ageing:
While you might think gardening is not as vigorous as traditional forms of exercise like walking or running, it is a fantastic way of getting in some daily exercise while doing something you actually love. Gardening requires a fair bit of bending, squatting, stretching and pulling, so by default you’re burning calories.
2. Improved immune system
We all know gardening can get messy, but did you know a little bit of dirt won’t hurt you, in fact it may be beneficial. There are certain friendly bacteria found in dirt that can assist to alleviate allergy symptoms and skin conditions. So, don’t be afraid to get down and dirty once in a while.
3. Mental wellbeing & happiness
It’s no secret that fresh air and sunshine can do wonders for your mood and health. Spending time in the garden on a sunny day causes your body to produce vitamin D, and boosts serotonin levels thus improving your mood and helping you feel calm and happy. Of course, sun safety comes into play so be sure to adequately protect your skin from harmful UV rays, especially here in Queensland where the sun is particularly strong all year round.
4. Boost brain health & prevent dementia
Research shows that positive lifestyle choices play a part in reducing one’s risk of developing dementia. Gardening engages critical functions in the mind and body such as problem solving, sensory awareness, endurance and dexterity. Spending time in the garden regularly helps to maintain motor skills and improves strength.
5. Lowers Stress
Gardening may lower levels of cortisol which in turn can reduce stress and high blood pressure. A lovely garden in which one can rest and relax can also reduce anxiety and bring about a sense of peace.
In summary, there are many health benefits of gardening for seniors. If you are considering a new hobby or looking to increase your health and wellbeing, why not consider spending more time outdoors this year and create a beautiful garden that will benefit your overall health and wellbeing.