Spring has finally sprung!
The trees are blooming, the grass is green, and the temperatures are above freezing for the most part. If you’re like me, you’re glad to get out of the house and soak up some sunshine.
Since April showers have provided us with all these May flowers, it only makes sense to take advantage of the nice weather by gardening. It’s a great way to get outdoors, get some exercise, and commune with nature as well as your friends.
According to the National Library of Medicine, a study performed in Australia shows gardening activities can increase quality of life for older people through social engagement, productive endeavors, and exercise.
Gardening can be beneficial to both the body and mind.
The study shows exposure to nature can relieve stress. Research shows just looking at a garden can positively affect stress recovery, lower blood pressure, and slow heart rate. Simply being in a garden may provide benefits such as relaxation and restoration.
The maintenance required to keep a garden growing can lead to a longer, healthier life too.
Gardening provides opportunities for increased physical activity, which can prevent osteoporosis, reduce the risk of some cancers, Type 2 diabetes, depression and heart disease, the study states.
While gardening might not seem to be a vigorous workout, it can be a hearty physical activity. And it’s proven that even light exercise can help slow down the aging process.
You can even kick the benefits up another notch by joining a gardening group. These groups offer a way for people to connect with nature and each other, allowing social benefits to accrue.
Your local Council on Aging is a good place to start to find a group. Connecting with other members of a gardening group allows people to receive social support and contribute positively to the lives of others, an important protective factor against isolation and loneliness.
Then, of course, because of all your hard work, there will be all that fresh produce and flowers you will get to enjoy throughout the summer.
Are you caring for an older adult or need help locating healthy aging resources? Our experienced staff is available to help. Visit us online at www.agespan.org for more information. You can also call us at 800-892-0890 or email email@example.com. Joan Hatem-Roy is the Chief Executive Officer of AgeSpan.