The Benefits of Gardening

The Benefits of Gardening

The benefits of gardening for seniors | Meth-Wick CommunityFresh air, exercise, stress relief, a feeling of accomplishment, and good, healthy food—there aren’t many hobbies that can roll so many positives into one activity like gardening.

It’s also a hobby that can be adapted to meet your changing abilities and skills. If you no longer want to spend hours bent over, a raised bed or container gardening might be the answer. If keeping up with a fruit or vegetable garden feels overwhelming, downsize to smaller flower beds or pots. The benefits of gardening make it worth the time and effort. Here are just a few reasons why:

Gardening can strengthen muscles

We often think of exercise as aerobic workouts that get your heart pumping, but the digging, pushing, and pulling when gardening are excellent ways to increase your strength and muscle tone as well as flexibility and mobility.

Gardening is good for your heart health

Getting your hands dirty can burn about 200 to 400 calories per hour, making it a good way to get your daily exercise, and enjoy yourself in the process.

Gardening is a great way to relieve stress and anxiety

Digging in the dirt can be extremely therapeutic. The peacefulness that comes with caring for living things from Mother Nature releases serotonin and dopamine, hormones that improve mood and encourage a feeling of calm.

Gardening is the perfect way to enjoy the sunshine

Along with the healthy vitamins that come from a garden harvest, you can get a substantial dose of Vitamin D just by being out in the sunshine. In fact, as little as five to 15 minutes of sunlight on your face, arms and hands two to three times a week provides the benefits of vitamin D.

Gardening may reduce the risk of dementia

If you’re the type of person who likes to keep busy and have a to-do list, the responsibility of maintaining a garden or flower bed can be an excellent way to keep your mind sharp. One study determined that gardening could lower the risk for dementia up to 36%. Utilizing critical thinking skills, problem solving, sensory awareness, and maintaining motor skills are essential for brain health, and gardening requires all of those and more.

As with all outside summer activities, always take safety precautions when gardening: stay hydrated, wear sunscreen, and a hat. Start small, breaking your activities into shorter sessions to avoid overdoing it.

Whether you have years of experience tending to gardens, or you’ve never flexed your green thumb and would like to learn, gardening is the perfect hobby for our physical and mental well-being.