Benefits of gardeningFor seniors and their loved ones, gardening has a positive impact on their mental and physical wellbeing. From bettering core strength to lowering rates of depression, this hobby offers year-round enjoyment, even as we age. Consider these 5 benefits of gardening for seniors:

1. Lower Cortisol Levels
Studies show that gardening relieves stress, boosts mood, and lowers cortisol levels. Chronically-elevated cortisol levels are linked to everything from immune function and obesity to memory lapses, learning problems and heart disease.

2. Heart Health
Gardening is a great way for seniors to meet their target 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity exercise per week. Research shows that regular gardening cuts stroke and heart attack risk by up to 30% for those over 60.

3. Hand Strength
As we age, diminishing strength and dexterity in the hands can gradually narrow the range of activities we can perform. Gardening keeps hand muscles agile without additional exercises that a physiotherapist might suggest.

4. Brain Health
Gardening involves many of our critical functions for healthy living, such as endurance, learning, problem solving, and sensory awareness. Researchers suggest that daily gardening might reduce dementia onset by up to 36%.

5. Immune System Regulation
The soil bacteria Mycobacterium vaccae – common in garden dirt and ingested with vegetables – alleviates symptoms of allergies, asthma and psoriasis: all of which can stem from a weakened immune system.

While gardening has countless health benefits for seniors, ensure to stay safe by:

  • Warming up your muscles and joints.
  • Using raised garden beds to eliminate balance problems associated with kneeling, bending, and getting up and down from the ground.
  • Investing in long-handled garden tools.
  • Installing garden benches and scheduling sitting breaks.
  • Using a wagon instead of a wheelbarrow to avoid lifting and pushing.