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6 Benefits of Gardening for Seniors accent

August 16, 2023 | By

Whether you fantasize about harvesting hearty vegetables, dream of filling your house with dahlias or roses, or enjoy the kudos when people compliment your flower beds, you can nearly always find a way to work gardening into your life. From sprawling vegetable plots to tiny containers on windowsills, most homes can accommodate some type of gardening space. 

The benefits of gardening for seniors are immense — from encouraging you to become more active to providing a reason to connect with others who share your interest. Gardening can even improve your mental health, and it might just encourage you to eat more healthily. 

Here are some ways gardening can help you live your best life

1. Farm-to-Table Living 

Gardening can make eating fresh, healthy food feel interesting and even adventurous. What will grow best in this year’s garden? Will the peppers be sweeter or spicier than usual? And as every gardener knows, fresh food just tastes better. No grocery store food can replicate the ripe juiciness of a fresh-off-the-vine tomato. 

Growing a garden may help you feel more appreciative of healthy eating and experience joy and pleasure in food preparation, and those feelings could inspire you to eat more fruits and vegetables. And because you’ll know exactly where your food comes from, you may experience a sense of pride from preparing and sharing it. 

2. Social Connections  

Research shows that meaningful social connections are the single most important predictor of long-term health and well-being. 

Sowing seeds and tilling rows doesn’t need to be a solo activity. In fact, one major benefit of gardening for seniors is that it offers an easy way to connect with others, fostering a sense of community that can improve your physical and mental health. 

Incorporating socialization into your gardening is a great way to expand your knowledge — and your seed collection. Consider joining a local gardening club where you can soak in the knowledge of more experienced gardeners. Plants swaps are also a fun option and an ideal way to expand your plant collection on a budget. 

If an in-person club sounds intimidating, you can join an online gardening group, some of which are local. Polk County Master Gardeners is a great site to connect to virtual and in-person gardening events. 

3. Physical Activity 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that adults perform both cardiovascular exercise (150 minutes of moderate exercise such as walking per week or 75 minutes of intense exercise such as running) and strength training. Luckily, gardening offers both — and often doesn’t even feel like exercise. You can adapt your gardening style to your fitness level, and aim for more challenging activities — tilling your own garden plot or digging deep holes for trees — as you become more physically fit. 

4. Connecting With Nature 

Access to green space correlates with enhanced mental health. Studies show spending time in nature may relieve stress, connect you to a deeper sense of purpose, and encourage healthy physical activity that improves your well-being. 

5. A Healthy Dose of Vitamin D

Your body needs vitamin D to properly metabolize calcium to protect your bones. Vitamin D also plays an important role in immune-system health. Sun is a free and accessible source of vitamin D. Soak up some rays in the garden knowing that you’re protecting your bones and your immune system. Just make sure you wear sunscreen.  

6. An Intellectual Challenge 

Gardening can seem like magic, but it’s not. It’s science. It requires immense skill and plenty of critical thinking to manage any challenges that arise. Inevitably, you’ll deal with bugs, learn why a certain plant won’t grow in your yard, or brush up on gardening chemistry. This ongoing education is another benefit of gardening for seniors because it challenges your mind, keeping your brain healthy and agile. Learning about botany can also keep you occupied during the winter as you await the next gardening season. 

The benefits of gardening for seniors can’t be overstated. And gardening is just one way to live a healthy life. Learn more about healthy senior living with our guide. Download it today

des moines healthy living guide

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