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Essential Health Benefits of Maintaining a Garden

By Mary-Frances Walsh, 8:00 am on

Gardens are attractive, calming environments that can alleviate stress and create a sense of peace. The practice of tending to gardens, however, can also be extremely beneficial. This is especially true for seniors as they negotiate the challenges of the aging process. Sonoma senior care experts highlight the following reasons aging adults should consider maintaining a garden.

Improved Bone Density

Research done by the National Wildlife Federation has shown that women age 50 and above can gain significant improvements in bone density by gardening. According to the study, gardening just once each week could have far more benefits on bone density than any other form of light physical activity. Thus, gardening is a great way to keep problems like osteoporosis and osteoarthritis at bay.

Decreased Depression and Anxiety

Gardening is cathartic, and even just the process of spending time in a garden can have stress-reducing benefits. Gardeners enjoy a sense of peace and calm as they perform their work. Focusing on tending to plants and removing weeds takes their thoughts away from circumstances that lie beyond their control.

A Sense of Accomplishment

A decline in mobility or cognitive function can take a tremendous toll on a senior’s self-esteem, and many seniors lack sufficient confidence for trying new things or engaging in previously enjoyable activities. The sense of accomplishment and pride that comes from a well-tended garden helps seniors feel more proactive and positive about their lives.

Weight Balance

Gardening is not just good for building up bone density, it is also great for burning calories. It can be an intense physical activity that engages a wide variety of muscles. Best of all, it is a non-impact exercise which means that it will not put any undue stress on joints and bones. A single hour spent gardening may burn as many as 250 calories.

Improved Heart Health

Seniors who garden can experience significant improvements in their heart health. This is largely due to better mood balance and less stress and anxiety. Recent research suggests avid gardeners can cut their risk of heart disease by up to 30%. This is the result of increased sun exposure and a lesser likelihood of Vitamin D deficiencies.

Seniors who live in condos or apartments can also experience many benefits from gardening by maintaining potted plants on a patio or even a small indoor herb garden. If your elderly relative loves gardening but needs a helping hand, reach out to Home Care Assistance. Our part-time and live-in caregivers can help around the home in addition to in the garden, provide transportation, and whip up delicious meals with fresh produce from the garden. To learn more, call (707) 843.4368 and schedule a complimentary in-home consultation with a friendly Care Manager.