Gardening can help older adults Improve their Physical and Mental Health

Jun 20, 2019Gardening Tips, Nutrition & Health0 comments

On average retirees between ages 65 and 74 have seven to eight hours of leisure time, according to data from the American Time Use Survey conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. You spend your working years wishing you had more free time, and then get overwhelmed by the bucket loads of free time and space that is dumped on you during retirement. Some spend most of this leisure time watching television, but a number of older adults in Bucks County take up gardening. A hobby like gardening is ideal because you can alter it to fit you evolving retirement lifestyle. It can also be a way to keep you physically and mentally fit.

Gardening as a way to exercise

When you are gardening you make aerobic and strength building movements that keep your joints nimble. These movements include bending over, lifting, squatting, walking, digging, raking and so on. You will not get the benefits of these movements if you ride lawnmowers, use leaf blowers and other machines that require little or no physical effort from you. When you walk you are actually carrying your own weight. This leads to stronger bones, improved balance, decreased muscle pain and stiffness, and a stronger heart.

When you are lifting things and raking you are mostly engaging your core, arm and shoulder muscles. These exercises also help improve bone density and enhance weight loss. However, whether or not you get better results from lifting depends on the weight you are lifting and how many times a week you do these exercises. Since you won’t be working in your garden every single day, you should add more exercise to your daily routine to get even better fitness results. This could mean spending money on gym membership, but there are other cheaper ways to get fit. For example, you can find information about exercises you can do at home online.

Mental fitness through gardening

The physical activity you do through gardening also benefits your mental health. It helps to relieve tension and stress and enhances well-being through the release of endorphins. As a whole, gardening as a hobby gives you a sense of responsibility, which is when you have a lot of extra time because of retirement. Being responsible for plants can boost your self esteem especially when you get to harvest fabulous and healthy plants.

Another great advantage of farming is that it keeps you in contact with other human beings. For example, if you participate in community gardening you will have many social interactions with people of various ages, cultures, occupations and more. Social interactions keep your mind sharp and help you develop friendships that benefit your mental health.

Bucks County has a number of gardening enthusiasts and resources where you can get tips on what you need to be good at gardening. Once you start gardening you will not just be able to improve your mental and physical health but also make some money from your vegetables or plants.

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