Retirement is the best time for older adults to learn new hobbies and experience new things. Activities that combine both physical and mental exercise give great benefits ranging from lowering depression to building more flexibility and strength.
One practical and popular way to remain active in retirement is gardening. Gardening offers several advantages, including improving health, socialization, and more. Read on to find out why you should pick up gardening as your hobby in retirement.
1. It's Great Exercise
Gardening might not seem as if it is in the same category as swimming or jogging. Still, it is a fantastic exercise you can do daily to keep your body moving and healthy. In fact, light exercise can help to slow down the aging process. You can add some light stretching before or after spending time in the garden to avoid common injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome and tendonitis.
2. Improves Socialization
After retirement, many people experience less socialization. Working in community gardens has a lot of benefits. Seniors can engage with others while working on collaborative projects. Community gardens are those shared places where people can work together to maintain the gardens collectively.
Alternatively, if you have access to your own garden, try inviting family or friends to help. You can even socialize online with others interested in the same activities and share ideas across forums or Facebook groups. Working in the garden with someone else provides social interaction that enhances mood and prevents boredom. Socialization is essential as we age. It helps to prevent depression, memory loss, heart disease, obesity, and more. 3. Boosts Bone Health
Vitamin D obtained from sun exposure helps to absorb the necessary calcium that our bodies need. Calcium is essential for our bone health. If you spend time in the garden, you also get an exposure to the sun. This will help strengthen your bones and prevent balance issues. Strong bones are necessary to prevent injuries from falls, slips, and other accidents resulting from poor balance. Strong bones can also help to prevent many bone diseases. People who participate in heavy, weight-bearing gardening tasks like digging and raking have higher bone density than others. Just remember to be careful and monitor your time in the sun. Limited time in the sun is very healthy, but over-exposure can be dangerous - check out our tips to stay safe in the sun here!
4. Reduces Joint Pain
The major joint issues for older adults are joint pain and muscle tension due to inactivity and other unhealthy habits. The more active that adults stay in retirement, the lower the chances of developing osteoporosis. One way to indulge in healthy activities is to start gardening. Gardening helps seniors to engage in a fun activity and reduce pain by keeping joints active and loose.
5. Improves Your Diet
If you grow vegetables and herbs in your garden, of course, you will be inclined to include them in your diet. Gardening is a way to control and enhance the variety in your diet. You have an opportunity to grow healthier and nutrient-rich herbs and vegetables. Gardening provides you an opportunity to learn the basics of growing from scratch, so you become more conscious about what you eat. But the advantages of gardening are not just limited to this. You will inspire your children and grandchildren to become vegetable-lovers as well.
6. Provides a Therapeutic Environment
Surrounding yourself with a natural environment lowers anger, anxiety, and causes relaxation, giving a more peaceful state of mind. It also improves the healing process. Spending even a few minutes in a garden lowers stress, provides relaxation, and improves the healing process. Steven Blair, the co-author of "Active Living Every Day," says that spending 30 minutes gardening five days a week can lower the risk for several heart diseases and even cancer. Soil contains a common bacterium known as Mycobacterium vaccae, which releases happy hormones in our body. You can plant some lovely scented plants like basil, rosemary, and lavender that carry therapeutic properties. These plants will refresh your mind and soul with their beautiful fragrances.
7. Improves Hand Strength
Hands are a physical body part that is required to perform almost any daily task or chore. As we age, hand strength naturally weakens. However, you can improve your hand strength at any age by participating in physical activities. Gardening is one of those physical activities that will enhance the strength and agility of our hands. This is one of the most important benefits of gardening for seniors. It reduces the risk of weakening strength in the hands that is very common in the old years of life. Most of the rehabilitation centers use gardening as a way of rebuilding hand strength and agility in stroke patients.
8. Improves Immune System
As we age, we have to be more conscious about maintaining and strengthening our immune systems. For several reasons, gardening is a healthy activity that helps promote a healthy immune system. As we've already discussed, gardening increases exposure to Vitamin D, encourages daily exercise, and provides healthy and immune-boosting foods and vitamins. Growing a garden is also known to reduce stress, clean the air, and promote mental health, all of which contribute to improved wellness and immunity to disease.
9. Protects Memory
Exercise improves cognitive function in the brain. New evidence shows that gardening is beneficial for memory. Recent research has even found that gardening can be a great activity for people with dementia.
Whether you are looking for a new hobby, fresh vegetables, or a new way to stay active and healthy outdoors, gardening might be a great activity to consider. It provides many benefits, both mentally and physically. Tell us below, what are you most looking forward to about gardening. Or if you are already gardening, what has been your favorite part?