The joy of gardening: Health benefits for seniors

As the weather becomes warmer and the days become longer, it’s the perfect time to be out in the garden (or on your balcony) tending to some plants and nurturing new life! Gardening and growing fruit/vegetables not only has benefits for the earth but also for your health and wellbeing. Here are some advantages which you may find surprising:

Gardening can reduce stress, feelings of anxiety and depression

Being out in the fresh air can help clear your mind! Gardening is therapeutic as it helps to take your focus off other things which may be troubling you. Also, the greater intake of oxygen causes the blood vessels in your lungs to dilate which helps cleanse and repair tissue. Soil in the garden actually contains a healthy bacteria called ‘microbiome’, so getting your hands dirty and smelling the earth can boost levels of serotonin in the body, reducing feelings of anxiety. Not to mention, it’s a bonus if the sun decides to appear whilst out enjoying this hobby!

If you are out in the hot weather for long amounts of time don’t forget to wear sunscreen, a hat for protection and drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated.

Gardening improves strength and mobility

Even short periods of light digging, raking, or mowing the lawn can be quite effective for burning off calories. Gardening can also help improve dexterity and strength, muscle mass, aerobic endurance, and functional movement. Although be careful not to do too much at once and take extra care if your garden is uneven or overgrown. Just do as much as you feel comfortable with.

Growing fruit and vegetables might have you eating healthier

By being out in the garden, it is likely on a good day that you will receive your fair share of Vitamin D from the sun. However, there’s nothing quite like growing your own fruit and vegetables when the weather permits. The easiest vegetables to grow in the UK include potatoes, courgettes, runner beans, salad leaves, peas… the list goes on. Growing fruit in the UK is also very common, you could also try growing apples, strawberries, tomatoes, figs, blackberries, gooseberries and currants. Remember that by growing your own products at home you will be reducing the amount of plastic packaging you buy in the supermarket and you may find yourself wasting far less food.

Planting your food, pruning and nurturing it gives a satisfaction like no other. Over time you might find that it builds your self-esteem, ultimately making you feel happier!

At Home Instead Brighton, Hove and Shoreham we accompany many families through the ageing journey to ensure loved ones continue living independently and maintain a healthy, happy lifestyle. We listen, respond and tailor our services to your needs. If you would like to speak to someone at Home Instead Brighton, Hove and Shoreham please don’t hesitate to get in touch - you can call Liz on 01273 284090 or email [email protected].