Green Thumbs and Golden Years: How Gardening Can Keep You Feeling Young (Even If You’re Not)
Don’t let your age hold you back from getting your hands dirty in the garden. Gardening can be a fantastic activity for older adults, offering a range of physical, mental, and social benefits. Whether you’re a seasoned green thumb or a gardening newbie, there’s a place for you in the garden. So grab your gloves and read on to learn more about how gardening can help you feel young and spry, even if you’re not.
- Physical benefits: Gardening is a great way to get some moderate-intensity exercise, which is important for maintaining strength, balance, and flexibility as we age (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2018). And let’s be real, anything that gets you off the couch and moving is a good thing. Plus, gardening activities such as digging, planting, and weeding can all help to improve muscle strength and coordination. In addition, spending time outdoors in the sunlight can help to boost vitamin D levels, which is important for bone health (Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, 2018). So, not only will you be getting a workout, but you’ll also be soaking up some much-needed sunshine.
- Mental benefits: Gardening has been shown to have a number of mental health benefits for elderly people, including reducing stress and improving mood (Kim et al., 2018). And who couldn’t use a little stress reduction in their life? Plus, gardening can provide a sense of accomplishment and purpose, which can be especially important for those who have retired or lost a loved one. So go ahead and plant that flower bed or vegetable garden – the sense of accomplishment you’ll get from seeing it grow will be worth it.
- Social benefits: Gardening can also be a great way to socialize and connect with others. Whether you garden alone, with a partner or friend, or in a community garden, the social aspect of gardening can be enjoyable and rewarding. Plus, there’s nothing like bonding over a shared love of plants and the great outdoors. So don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation with your fellow gardeners – you never know who you might meet or what you might learn.
So, how can you bring the benefits of gardening to your golden years? Here are a few tips for setting up and maintaining a successful and enjoyable garden:
- Choose the right location: If you have a backyard, consider setting up your garden in an area that gets plenty of sunlight. If you don’t have a backyard, or if you live in an apartment or condominium, you can still enjoy the benefits of gardening by setting up a container garden on your balcony or patio.
- Choose plants that are easy to care for: As an older adult, you may not have the time or energy to devote to high-maintenance plants. Consider choosing plants that are easy to care for, such as herbs, succulents, or annual flowers.
- Use raised beds or containers: If you have mobility issues or physical limitations, consider setting up your garden in raised beds or containers. This will make it easier for you to reach and care for your plants without having to bend down or kneel on the ground.
- Consider hiring a gardener: If you don’t have the time or energy to maintain a garden on your own, consider hiring a gardener to help out. This can be a great way to enjoy the benefits of gardening without the added work.
With these tips in mind, you can enjoy the many benefits of gardening as an older adult. So go ahead and get your green thumb ready – it’s never too late to start reaping the rewards of gardening in your golden years!