Having hobbies has been shown to boost both the physical and mental health of seniors and help them extend their life expectancy, according to a study published in the US National Library of Medicine. There are many hobbies that older adults can engage in, but few of them have as many benefits as gardening. Cultivating a garden from scratch is one of the best activities for seniors in summer and spring, particularly if you grow edible plants. It's fun, purposeful, and provides numerous health and other benefits that every senior should be interested in.
It is a powerful stress reliever
Many seniors suffer from stress which not only dampens their mood but can also lead to health complications. Luckily, studies have shown that gardening can help lower the levels of cortisol which alleviates stress for seniors and also reduces high blood pressure. Being out in nature and creating a beautiful space from scratch can provide stress relief and turn your home into a haven. Gardening also boosts the release of serotonin which increases mood and promotes a feeling of peace and calmness.
It can help reduce the cost of senior living
A lot of older adults face financial difficulties especially if they no longer have a source of income or are facing various health complications. A great way to reduce the cost of living as you grow older is through edible gardening. By practicing gardening, you won't have to spend as much on groceries when you have fresh, high-quality food growing in your backyard.
On top of that, having a garden filled with fresh ingredients will make you want to cook your meals as opposed to eating out, which means more savings for retirement. If you scale up your garden, you can even grow enough to sell at your local farmer's market which gives you a source of income and ensures that you're still contributing to the local economy.
It promotes physical health
Gardening has quite a good number of physical health benefits that can help keep you stay strong and healthy as you grow older. For one, gardening is a moderately intense workout that can count towards the recommended 30 minutes of daily exercise. According to a study, regular gardening can reduce the risk of a stroke or heart attack by as much as 30 percent for people over 60.
Additionally, gardening can help increase strength and mobility which helps older adults stay strong and independent for longer. Gardening can also reduce the risk of dementia by 36 percent as it engages critical brain functions like dexterity, endurance, problem-solving, and sensory awareness.
Gardening is not only fun but can also have a lot of physical and mental health benefits for seniors. Although some physical disabilities and medical conditions can prevent older people from engaging in gardening, the best thing about it is that it is adaptable and can be modified easily to meet a variety of abilities. Before you start gardening, it's a good idea to tell your doctor about it to get some advice based on your medical history.