When dreaming of retirement, it’s natural for the mind to think about potential hobbies. A lot of seniors can envision themselves taking off in a camper van. There are some seniors who picture sunny days spent on the golf course.
However, it’s worth noting that perhaps the most beneficial hobby of them all is in fact gardening. Whether toiling away in the summer or performing a few maintenance tasks in the winter, gardening can be enjoyed all year round.
Best of all is the fact that gardening is extremely beneficial on elements of physical, mental and emotional health. Ensuring that, even though you may be in the next chapter of your life, there is still much to take pleasure in.
Benefits Of Gardening For Seniors
Gardening has an immense impact on both physical and mental health. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned gardener, there are many benefits to enjoy. This is especially beneficial for seniors who are looking to stay fighting fit during retirement.
1. Stay fit and active
One of the most important benefits of gardening is the hobby’s ability to keep participants fit and active. Almost all gardening activities require some variety of movement. For example, watering the garden means you must walk around and use your arms.
Additionally, tending to the soil often sees people down on their knees, using their core and arm muscles to weed gardens or spread fresh soil. Therefore, whether making a mini greenhouse or vertical garden, you are essentially staying fit and active.
2. Increased social interactions
Gardening is a hobby that can be enjoyed on your own or with a group. For those starting out in this hobby, it might be wise to join a community garden or group. This way, you can learn through others’ experiences. All while interacting socially.
For those who might be more advanced in their gardening ability, you could host gardening lessons at your home. Even if you’re not strictly involved in a club, you can always engage in passing interactions with neighbours or those walking by as you tend to your front garden.
3. Relieve stress
When Australian Seniors surveyed individuals for their Quality of Life Report, respondents highlighted good mental health as one of the top three requirements for a quality life in retirement.
As gardening is a very mindful activity, it also doubles as a stress reliever. By getting your hands dirty and occupying your brain with other thoughts, you can take a step back and effectively relieve feelings of stress.
4. Improves food intake
Growing a fruit and vegetable garden encourages seniors to eat better, fresher and more nutritious produce. When cucumbers, apples, watermelon and even cabbages and cauliflowers are growing in your own backyard, you will be more inclined to eat healthier.
5. Enjoy more Vitamin D
Soaking up rays of sunshine can work wonders on your overall health. This is because exposure to sunlight helps increase vitamin D levels. Vitamin D is vital as it helps with everything from bone strength to improving the immune system’s resistance to illness.
6. Take your mind off ailments
When sitting around watching the television or reading a book, it can be easy to focus on common aches and pains in the body. However, gardening is an incredibly mindful activity that can not only take your mind off daily stresses, but also everyday aches and pains.
7. Boost self-esteem
Taking a step back and looking at a luscious garden, green lawn and thriving fruit and veggie patch brings with it a sense of accomplishment. This feeling of a job well done can work to boost self-esteem levels and feelings of self-worth.
8. Keep grocery expenses down
Instead of having to shop at the green grocer or in the supermarket for fresh fruits and vegetables, gardeners can simply walk outside and pick items out of the earth. While satisfying, this has the important benefit of helping seniors save money.
9. Retain balance and coordination
As we age, certain things that seemed easy just yesterday become a little harder. Balance and coordination is one of those things. However, actively navigating gardens and garden beds can actively help seniors retain their balance and coordination.
10. An avenue for creativity
One of the great things about gardening is that no two gardens ever have to look the same. This means that you can use the creative part of your brain to dream up new garden bed designs or placements of colourful flowers to create something entirely your own.
Gardening and seniors: a perfect match
Gardening is one of the most beneficial hobbies, whether you take up this activity in young adulthood or even as a senior. This is because gardening encourages everything from better eating and enhanced creativity to improved fitness and mental health.
With a vast array of associated activities, gardening can be enjoyed by beginners or experts in the field. As long as you are getting out, basking in the sunlight and getting your hands a little dirty in the soil, everyone can enjoy the vast benefits.