7 Benefits of Gardening for the Elderly

A flourishing garden is a feast for the eyes, and its scent is a delight for the nose. But are you aware that gardening can do more than just beautify the exterior of your home? Gardening offers many health benefits and is thought of as a natural remedy for the elderly. Gardening can help your loved one stay active, healthy, and energetic well into old age and reduce the risk of many preventable diseases. Read on to know more!

1) Helps Burn Calories

As seniors age, their mobility declines and they spend more time sitting or sleeping. In this case, the challenge is that seniors tend to retain calories due to lack of exercise. Gardening allows seniors to exercise and burn calories while pulling weeds and planting flowers.

For instance, it has been found that seniors can burn 330 calories per hour by doing light gardening and yard work. Walking at a moderate pace may not burn as many calories for seniors.

2) Stress Reduction

Seniors are anxious about many things, which can lead to stress. Seniors often become restless and hopeless when dependent on someone else. Gardening, however, gives seniors their own way out and new responsibilities.

It allows them to take care of something and develop a sense of self-esteem. The activity also increases serotonin levels, boosting mood and reducing depression. Because of these benefits, “garden therapy” is now gaining popularity.

Gardening has also been shown to reduce cortisol, the stress hormone.

3) Creates Social Opportunities

Socializing with friends, family, and acquaintances is something many seniors value. Social interaction can be healing, which is one of the benefits of seniors receiving care. Isolation leads to loneliness, which is not healthy for seniors. Seniors who socialize live longer and are in better health than their isolated peers.

Community gardens create social opportunities for seniors by providing a place to meet and socialize with friends old and new. They also offer the satisfaction of beautifying the neighborhood while growing nutritious food.

4) Promotes Heart Health and Reduces the Risk of Stroke

As people age, they move less, making them more susceptible to many preventable diseases that affect their peers. It is not uncommon for heart disease and stroke to increase among seniors. Daily exercise is essential because it can eliminate the risk of stroke and heart disease.

Gardening is a moderate exercise that can lower the risk of heart attack and stroke. The vitamin D that seniors get from gardening in the sun is also said to reduce the risk of heart disease.

5) Improves Bone Health

Vitamin D is one of the body’s most essential nutrients. It promotes bone formation and can be obtained from foods such as milk and fish. Older adults can improve their skeletal health and metabolic function by gardening and getting sunlight, which allows the body to synthesize vitamin D naturally.

Seniors should be careful when gardening in the sun to avoid dehydration and sunburn. Using high-quality sunscreen, staying hydrated, and wearing a wide-brimmed hat are some precautions seniors can take to protect themselves from sun damage when gardening. Applying high-quality sunscreen can also reduce the risk of skin cancer.

Benefits of Gardening For Seniors | Health Benefits of Gardening

6) Strengthens the Immune System

While it may seem like a hassle to keep your garden clean, it doesn’t hurt. The presence of Mycobacterium vacate in garden soil improves immunity. It can also help alleviate symptoms of various health conditions such as depression, allergies, psoriasis, and asthma.

7) Reduces the Risk of Dementia

Many older adults tend to suffer from dementia, but gardening can help address this challenge. Since gardening is a physical activity that involves cognitive function, it also activates the mind. Studies have shown that daily gardening can reduce the risk of dementia by up to 36%, making it a great natural remedy for the elderly.

If you haven’t tried gardening yet, go for it. Being proactive can help seniors maintain a longer, healthier life!

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