Appropriately enough, April is National Garden Month, and that’s the time when most people in the country can expect winter weather to begin fading away so that springtime activities can be started.
There is much to be gained from gardening activities, apart from the beautiful flowers or shrubs that bloom at that time of year. Gardening is a wonderful activity that almost everyone can be involved with since it requires no physical strength and no increased level of fitness.
All you really need to get started is a few garden tools, and the right attitude, which focuses on cultivating the earth to produce new life for the season. Here are some of the best reasons why gardening into your senior years can be a great idea.
More fresh air
Most homes these days contain some level of harmful substances that could potentially cause health issues for residents. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, a great many homes unknowingly contain such air pollutants as formaldehyde, lead, carbon monoxide, and asbestos.
Given that seniors will normally develop a shallower breathing pattern as they age, the presence of indoor pollutants can exacerbate this condition and worsen any breathing issues. There are some definite steps you can take to improve indoor air quality, but there’s nothing that really compares to being outdoors and taking in mass quantities of fresh air.
Working in your garden is one of the best ways to keep busy and enjoy all the fresh air that comes from being outside. In addition, most plants generate oxygen while also absorbing carbon dioxide, so you’re actually contributing to better air quality surrounding your home.
It’s always easier to maintain your mobility than it is to try and regain it after you’ve lost it.
The best way to ensure that you stay mobile in the future is to maintain a mobile lifestyle in the present. A big part of mobility can be traced to having strong core muscles. These are situated in the lower back, at your sides, and in your abdomen.
Almost all body movements will engage these core muscles to some extent. Many of the tasks you will encounter with gardening require the use of core muscles for bending and reaching. By working regularly in your garden, you’ll be able to strengthen your core through the repetitive motions you engage in.
In addition to the satisfaction you get from gardening now, you’ll also be taking steps to increase your mobility in the future.
Lower stress level
There are a great many things that can cause you to become stressed out in your daily life. Unfortunately, there aren’t quite as many things that can serve to reduce stress levels. That means you have to be somewhat creative in finding ways to become calmer and more stress-free.
Gardening is one of the best activities you can undertake in this regard. A recent study showed that 30 minutes of gardening was even more effective for stress relief than 30 minutes of reading. One of the reasons for this is that while you’re gardening, you’re obliged to focus on the task at hand, and that causes you to forget all about whatever was causing you stress.
Reduced risk of dementia
Most people as they age have a fear of developing dementia. It has become so prevalent in our society that it seems like it’s almost a natural consequence of aging. There are some strategies that you can try that will reduce the risk of developing dementia, and one of these is gardening. That’s because gardening requires a number of different cognitive functions in order for you to successfully complete necessary tasks.
Some of these will be decision-making functions, others involve problem-solving, and some even include motor skills. All of these activities tend to sharpen your mental faculties and stave off advancing dementia.
One particular study discovered that seniors who worked in their gardens daily had a full 36% lower risk of incurring dementia than those who did no gardening whatsoever. It’s even better if you can do your gardening with a spouse or a friend because this provides social interaction that also tends to work against dementia.
Regular exposure to sunshine
Most people really enjoy the warmth and the feeling of the sun on their skin, and it’s also a great way to encourage more vitamin D production. By being out in the sunshine and working in your garden, you’ll be able to enjoy the benefits of increased vitamin D production, which include reduced risk for heart disease, better absorption of phosphorus and calcium, greater support for the immune system, and the lessening of depression symptoms.
By working regularly in your garden, you’ll encourage the greater production of vitamin D in your body, and you’ll receive all the benefits mentioned above.