Tuesday, August 08, 2017

How Gardening Improves Overall Wellness at Any Age

lilies, gardeing for seniors, gardening for health 

Gardening is one of few activities that benefits people of all ages - from very young kids all the way up to the very old (and everyone in between). There’s really no age requirement or limit when it comes to gardening. No matter how old you are, there are plenty of reasons to get out and get planting. A well-rounded lesson for kids Kids can obviously benefit from the fruits of their labor, and getting out in the sun and getting some exercise is good for anyone at any age - but the biggest reason to get your kids involved in gardening is the constant opportunity for education it provides. “There is a myriad of scientific concepts you can discuss with your kids when planting and tending to a garden. One study showed that children who participated in gardening projects scored higher in science achievement than those who did not,” notes PBS. org Think about all the questions your kids will ask when you garden together. Why does the plant need water? Why does it need sun? Why do we water plants near the ground? How does it drink? Why do certain plants produce flowers and certain plants don’t? Why do we have to plant these plants every year? Every question your child asks is an opportunity for instruction. You kids will also learn weights and measures, basic geometry, and more math-related concepts in the garden. A break from everyday stress for adults One of the best benefits of gardening is its ability to help reduce stress in its practitioners. The stress-busting powers of gardening have been studied. One notable study pitted gardening against reading and used cortisol (stress hormone) levels and self-reporting on mood to judge participants’ levels of stress after 30 minutes of each activity. “Gardening and reading each led to decreases in cortisol during the recovery period, but decreases were significantly stronger in the gardening group. Positive mood was fully restored after gardening, but further deteriorated during reading,” notes the study. If you think about it, for busy adults with work and family obligations, how could gardening not serve as a big time stress reliever? Gardening lets you get out in the fresh air, away from the distractions of work emails, over-connectivity, and family stressors. And you can make your endeavors worthwhile and less stressful by checking out this guide. It’s a hobby that requires great care and nurturing, and one that produces beautiful, visible results. Gardening has pretty much everything required of a happiness gold mine. A way to stay physically and mentally sharp for seniors As we age, our opportunities for exercise diminish. Gardening is an activity that can provide moderate exercise opportunities in a safe, controlled environment. Think about all the things you do when gardening: squatting, lifting plants and rocks, removing debris, raking, digging, hoeing, etc. For seniors, gardening can be “strenuous” but safe exercise. Maybe even more important, however, are the mental benefits of gardening. Seniors need activities that stimulate their minds in order to help stave off cognitive decline. Gardening fits the bill. “A study published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease found that [gardening] can cut your risk of Alzheimer’s by 50 percent. Other research finds that horticulture therapy is very engaging for dementia patients and has a positive impact on their overall well-being,” says Rodale’s Organic Life blog. There are very few activities that provide both physical and mental stimulation, are simple enough for kids to do but complex enough to provide opportunities for education, and can be done with ease by anyone, at any age, including those with disabilities. Gardening is truly special in this way. Photo Credit: Tammy Jensen Author: Maria Cannon
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Posted by Tammy Jensen at 5:17 PM