The COVID-19 pandemic has made gardening a popular pastime with those who are practicing self-quarantine at home. At the same time, those who are looking for a productive form of activity that is safe, enjoyable, relaxing, and relatively easy to do have also tried gardening. There are many benefits of gardening for seniors and below are four reasons why our family members and loved ones should take up gardening as a daily activity.
Relieves Depression and Anxiety
Studies show that engaging in “green therapy” has significantly helped older adults who are struggling with depression and anxiety. These issues are quite common among older people because they may be battling with loneliness or are facing some health problems. According to research, gardening releases “happy” and “feel-good” hormones called serotonin. As we do gardening, we are exposed to the beauty of plants and flowers while breathing in the fresh air. At the same time, gardening not only provides enjoyment and hope but is also a meditative activity. It helps calm the mind and soothes our emotions because it engages our hands and our senses. This in turn helps ease away burdens and refocuses our energy in a positive manner.
Provides a Sense of Purpose and Satisfaction
Gardening requires our full attention and effort. When we create a beautiful garden of herbs, crops, and flowers, we can take pride in our efforts and hard work because we have created something wonderful. When we have enough to share the fruits of our labors with our neighbors and family members, we can gain a sense of purpose from the knowledge that our crops will feed our loved ones and our flowers can cheer someone up in the community. As such, the lifestyle values that we develop from gardening can promote mental wellness.
Helps Maintain Good Physical Health
A benefit of being outdoors is that we can get natural vitamin D from sunshine. Vitamin D is essential for the absorption of calcium. Without Vitamin D, the body cannot process calcium which is needed to build and maintain strong bones as well as prevent osteoporosis. Last but not the least, Vitamin D is also responsible for strengthening our immune system.
Gardening is also a great form of low-impact exercise. While gardening, we need to bend, dig, walk around, and pull weeds out of the ground. These are all forms of physical activities that can improve blood circulation and strengthen the heart. According to doctors, gardening regularly is a safe form of exercise that greatly benefits seniors with health conditions like hypertension.
Promotes Healthy Eating Habits
When we plant our own fruits and vegetables, we are more likely to eat a healthier diet which is particularly important for older people. By eating food grown from our garden, we can cut down on costs in the long run too!
Plant foods like tomatoes, carrots, and beets are known for being highly nutritional. Carrots contain vitamin A that helps improve eyesight and builds immunity while tomatoes can brighten skin and reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer. Beets can help regulate blood sugar levels and lower blood pressure. Studies have also shown that taking a combination of tomatoes, beets, and carrots can prevent constipation and help in weight loss. If you don’t already have these in your garden, you should get them planted pronto!