As our loved ones progress in life after their retirement, they may start spending time on refreshing and stimulating hobbies and activities they’ve always wanted to try. One activity that’s been increasing in popularity over the past few years is gardening. Research has shown that gardening has numerous benefits for the body and mind. In particular, gardening can strengthen one’s body and motor function, relieve stress, and promote greater mental well-being. Here are just a few benefits of gardening for our loved ones.
Physical and Emotional Benefits of Gardening
As a low-impact physical activity, gardening is a source of regular and moderate aerobic exercise for us and our loved ones. Such forms of exercise can decrease the risk of developing serious health conditions like obesity, osteoporosis, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, depression, and more. At the same time, our bodies’ production of serotonin and dopamine – hormones that make us feel happier – will increase, while levels of the stress hormone cortisol drop. Furthermore, for loved ones whose range of motion is more limited, exercising through gardening can lubricate joints and strengthen their mobility. They may even wish to stretch before and after they do their gardening to increase blood circulation, strengthen their muscle control, improve their balance and coordination, and minimize their risk of getting injured.
In addition, spending time out and about in a bright and sunny garden gives greater exposure to vitamin D. Though prolonged sun exposure requires appropriate protective measures like sunscreen, the benefits of vitamin D cannot be overstated; vitamin D can regulate our emotions while improving our bodies’ calcium absorption, immune systems, and overall bone health.
All in all, it’s clear that taking time to enjoy nature through gardening is a great activity physically and emotionally – it has been found to improve emotion and mood regulation while improving our bodies’ physical condition.
Mental Benefits of Gardening
Gardening is a great way to practice mindfulness in our daily lives – it requires us to be fully present at the moment and engage all five of our senses in order to tend each plant’s needs with love and care. Gardening also imparts us and our loved ones with a sense of control and responsibility, making us feel empowered to care for our plants as best as we can. In fact, research has found that “horticultural therapy” like gardening can reduce blood pressure, improve sleep quality, and help to stave off dementia.
But that’s not all of the mental benefits gardening has to offer – gardening is also a great avenue to socialize and make new friends! By sharing new ideas with neighbors and connecting with fellow gardeners at farmer’s markets and gardening centers, you or your loved ones can experience a greater sense of connectedness to the larger community, which can further boost your mental wellbeing.
Whether you choose to garden in the comforts of your own home or within a reputable living community, it’s clear that gardening is a great activity to strengthen your body and mind. So, grab your gloves and tools and try your hand at gardening today!