Gardening is a great hobby for anyone and can be especially beneficial for older adults. Besides enjoying the fresh air, it is also an excellent way to relax and socialize. Gardening can be rewarding for you or your loved one; learning about plants, taking care and nurturing them; you might even start to grow your food. In addition to being easy and cost-effective, gardening also provides health benefits. Here are some reasons you should start gardening in your retirement community in Berea, SC.
Gardening Improves Mobility
Gardening is a valuable means of regaining strength and mobility after a stroke as it uses the lesser-used muscles. If you or your loved one has mobility issues, gardening is a hobby that can be done seated. As long as your hands are busy tilling the soil, cutting the weeds, and watering the plants, it will help to improve strength, mobility, and coordination for your active independent living.
Gardening Lowers the Risk of Stroke
Gardening is considered a moderately strenuous activity, having to move your hands around and stand up and down. It does count as the recommended 30 minutes of exercise each day. A Swedish study found that when older adults aged 60 years and over engaged in frequent gardening activities, their risk of stroke and heart attack was reduced by up to 30%. Spending time outdoors in the sun can boost your levels of Vitamin D, which has been linked to a lower risk of heart disease. Even then, don’t forget to put on your hat and apply some sunscreen for protection.
Gardening Enhances Mental Wellness
Some studies found that gardening leads to a reduction in depressive symptoms. Further studies show that when you immerse your hands in the soil, you interact with bacteria in the soil. A specific type of bacteria in the earth can cause the release of serotonin in your brain. Serotonin is your in-house antidepressant, which plays a massive role in boosting your moods and promoting feelings of positivity and calm. This explains why gardening is relaxing and is becoming increasingly popular as a therapy for those with depression and other mental illnesses.
Gardening Alleviates Stress
Outside in a beautiful location is reason enough to reduce anxiety and tension within. To prove that, a study was carried out with individuals who had to complete a stressful job and choose to either garden or read for 30 minutes. Although both groups reported a reduction in their stress levels, the gardening group experienced a higher decrease in cortisol levels than the reading group. Cortisol is our body’s stress hormone, which controls motivation, mood, and fear. At the end of the study, the gardening group continued to be in a good mood. Gardening helps lower cortisol levels, reduces stress, and lowers blood pressure.
Gardening May Slow Cognitive Decline
Gardening may lower the occurrence of Alzheimer’s disease and slow cognitive decline. Gardening engages essential functions such as problem-solving, endurance, agility, and sensory awareness. And it has been shown to reduce the incidence of dementia by up to 36%. Although science has not figured out what causes Alzheimer’s, such research shows that activities like gardening can reduce the likelihood of developing the condition.