Gardening is a common hobby for people of all ages but is especially popular among adults. Whether it is flowers or fruits and vegetables, gardening is the hobby of cultivating and tending to a garden. Not only is gardening a great way to pass time but it also provides many health benefits, both physically and mentally, for older adults. Above all, the results that come from a garden can be gratifying and if you are cropping fruits and vegetables, your garden can come with even more benefits by providing nutritional and organic food.
Tending to a garden is hard work that takes a lot of time and commitment both physically and mentally. For older adults, the work involved with taking care of a garden can be a great aerobic exercise and way to get out in the sun. Not only does gardening have the ability to keep your heart healthy, but it can also stimulate and improve cognitive functions. With these health benefits and more, gardening should be an option for every older adult to take up as a hobby – most importantly for the gratification and happiness that comes with building your very own garden.
Remaining active and engaging in physical activity is one of the best ways for older adults to lead a healthy lifestyle. Engaging in exercise or physical activity frequently can result in better heart health, stronger bones, stronger lungs and help defend against any illnesses. If you currently do not have an active lifestyle, gardening is a great way to ease into an active lifestyle but still obtain all of the benefits that come from exercising.
Increases Heart Health
Gardening is a great source of aerobic exercise which gets your blood flowing and increases the strength of your cardiovascular system. Having good heart health is essential for older adults since it can reduce the risk of stroke, reduce high blood pressure levels, and relieve stress.
Increases Cognitive Function
With increased aerobic and cardiovascular function, oxygen moves through the bloodstream and betters oxygen flow throughout the body and the brain. Better oxygen flow in the brain results in better brain function and a longer attention span. Stimulating your brain can even decrease chances of dementia.
Allows for Better Mobility
When gardening, you can expect to be moving all parts of your body by reaching your arms out and bending down to get to your garden. These frequent moves and stretching can improve joints and stimulate your muscles – which will allow for better mobility.
Boosts the Immune System
Studies have shown that being near garden soil – which is filled with minerals – can help improve your immune system. Breathing in the aroma from the soil can help with illnesses such as asthma and psoriasis.
Provides a Good Source of Vitamin D
Gardening is typically done outside and in the sun, which is a primary source of Vitamin D for humans. Getting an ample amount of Vitamin D is important to help prevent certain diseases and build strong bones.
With old age comes the risk of mental and cognitive deterioration. This can come in many forms but most commonly comes as dementia. To help delay the symptoms of dementia and to help prevent cognitive decline, stimulation and increased air flow to the brain is necessary. Using gardening as a hobby can help stimulate the mind, senses, and also your mental health by fighting illnesses such as depression. It is crucial for older adults to engage in some hobby that engages both physical activity and the mind. Gardening is a hobby that is easy to begin and can target both of these areas. Below are a few ways that gardening can be beneficial to your mental health.
Increases Serotonin Levels
Serotonin is a chemical in the brain that is responsible for putting us in a good mood and keeping us calm. This chemical can be released in many forms by eating certain foods or engaging in aerobic exercise. Gardening is a form of moderate aerobic exercise and can release serotonin!
Gardening is typically a relaxing activity that can be done at your own leisure. This hobby also is known to lower cortisol levels in the body. Cortisol is the chemical in the body that is in charge of many things, including controlling blood pressure levels. When you control cortisol, you’ll have a better chance at lowering your blood pressure levels naturally.
Lowers Risk of Dementia
Gardening involves nearly all the senses of the body. It involves sight, touch, smell, and sometimes even taste! The combination of frequent movement and using multiple senses simultaneously can increase sensory awareness in the brain and help reduce chances of dementia.
Increases Social Opportunities
Among many individuals – and especially older adults – gardening is a popular hobby and a passion. Getting into the hobby of gardening can open doors to join different communities that are centered around gardening. It can also help give you opportunities to meet new people and host gatherings with groups of friends.
Keeps the Mind Focused
Although gardening is an activity that you can do on your time, it does require attention to keep the garden alive. Gardening can require being attentive to details and caring for live crops. This can help stimulate the mind and keep your mind sharp and focused!
Never Too Late
It is never too late to get started on your gardening journey! With all of the benefits above and more, there is no reason to cross off gardening as a possibility for a new hobby. Keep in mind to be cautious and use safety techniques while gardening to avoid any possible injury. But above all, make sure to have fun and enjoy the peace and excitement gardening can bring into your life.