Gardening for the soul

Being healthy is so much more than just ‘not being sick’, but rather, it is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being. Gardening is one of the most stress-free and healthiest outdoor activities for people of any age to take part in - including seniors - as it improves your mental and physical health! This holiday season, if you are feeling anxious, sluggish or feel as if you are not incorporating enough physical activity into your daily routine, why not roll up your sleeves and start gardening. In this article we will explore the various benefits of gardening for seniors: 

Gardening is a great way to get your body moving

 1. INCREASES YOUR PHYSICAL ACTIVITY

No matter what age you are, incorporating physical exercise into your daily life is essential for your wellbeing. Gardening is a great way to do this as it gets you outside and gets your body moving. By getting stuck into your flowerbed or veggie garden you engage in a range of physical activities – often without even realising it! From lifting and digging, to walking and squatting, these unassuming gardening moves will get your blood flowing, engage your muscles and release endorphins that are bound to put a smile on your face. 

In addition, the physical activity associated with gardening has the added benefit of promoting a healthy weight ratio. As according to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, you can burn about 330 calories doing an hour of light gardening – that’s more than you would burn walking at a moderate pace for the same amount of time!  

Incorporating plants in your diet is essential for your health

2. IMPROVES YOUR DIET

Besides the physical activity, studies have shown that if you plan on growing your own fruits and vegetables, you are likely to be more mindful about what you put on your plate and eat. Vegetables are packed with essential vitamins and minerals necessary to support a healthy body. Fruits are also fill of nutrients that your body needs to function effectively and most are low in calories – meaning you can snack away guilt-free! Planting your own fruits and vegetables is therefore a great way to promote a healthier diet as your food will be all natural, chemical free and full of goodness, as its coming straight from your garden. 

Sunflowers are known for being “happy” flowers

3. BOOSTS YOUR OVERALL MENTAL HEALTH

Another great benefit of gardening is that it promotes mental health, thanks to the relaxing nature of the activity which leaves you feeling calm and refreshed.  Gardening is considered by many to be a meditative activity allowing one to go beyond the everyday worries of the mind and move into a state of peace, happiness and bliss. By participating in relaxing activities such as gardening, stress levels are significantly reduced and thus so are the risks of ailments such as Dementia – which can be reduced by up to 36% for seniors 60 years and older. 

Furthermore, the hormone serotonin which is released when participating in physical activity has been proven to increase brain function as well as boost one’s mood. Serotonin which is also known as the ‘’happy hormone”, is a natural anti-depressant which aids in the strengthening of the immune system. Therefore, by being active and getting your hands dirty in the garden, you can make yourself happy, as well as healthy!

We have beautiful outdoor spaces for our residents to enjoy at Garden Grove

4. CREATES A SENSE OF PURPOSE

Looking after and tending to plants requires time and patience, and provides one with a sense of purpose as you become responsible for a living organism. This sense of purpose is crucial to maintain as we get older, as it is the foundation for our self-esteem. Watching and nurturing the growth of a plant from a tiny seed into a magnificent flower or tree, creates a feeling of achievement and thus improves self-confidence. Gardening is therefore a great way to find or re-establish one’s sense of purpose and bring meaning to one’s life, because no matter how old we get, we should never forget how valuable life is.

Our very own herb garden at Garden Grove

IDEAS OF FRUITS, VEGETABLES & PLANTS YOU CAN GROW:

Vegetables: Sweet Potatoes, Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Herbs, Lettuce and Pumpkins. 

Fruits: Strawberries, Apples, Blueberries and Pears. 

Plants: Sunflowers, Lavender, Aster, White Roses, and Cosmos 

There have been multiple studies undertaken by researchers to understand the various benefits of gardening and what it can do to for a senior’s mental and physical health, most of which are seen to have a positive effect on one’s wellbeing. Whether you are feeling stressed, anxious or just simply need to include an extra bit physical activity into your daily routine, you should consider gardening. So get out your gloves, grab a shovel and watch your life blossom in every aspect!

At Garden Grove we pride ourselves on our well maintained and colourful gardens.