Look no farther than your backyard to find a fountain of youth. Did you know that gardening can help turn back time? Yes, gardening offers a bushel load of benefits for your health and well-being, many of which will keep you feeling and looking younger.
Gardening may even contribute to longevity! According to a Harvard study in 2016 of more than 120,000 women, exposure to a green, natural environment makes people live longer. So, grab a shovel and rake today and dig into a hobby that offers physical, psychological and spiritual advantages.
Physical Benefits of Gardening
- Eat healthier – You control what you put on your plants, so you can enjoy pesticide-free produce. Plus, you’re likely to eat more veggies when you are growing your own.
- Shape up – All of the digging, planting, weeding, watering and harvesting burns a lot of calories! Working in the garden will also help tone your body, strengthen your joints and improve your flexibility.
- Soak up Vitamin D – Vitamin D helps build strong bones and boost immunity. The major source of vitamin D is sunlight, which you will get plenty of when you are gardening. Remember to wear sunscreen and a sun hat!
Psychological Benefits of Gardening
- Better mood – Spending time in nature by plants can make you happier and more positive. Don’t underestimate the stress relieving effect of plucking nasty weeds.
- New knowledge – Think of all the new things you’ll learn about botany, also known as plant science, such as when to plant, where to plant, how to prepare the soil, how to harvest and the healing properties of herbs and vegetables.
- Self-esteem – Seeing your tomatoes ripen on the vine, peppers grow to fist size or when you make pickles from homegrown cucumbers, you may well burst with pride!
- Protection against dementia – An Australian study found that physical activity, especially daily gardening, reduces the incidence of dementia in future years by up to 36 percent.
Spiritual Benefits of Gardening
- Mindfulness – Mindfulness is the act of being totally present in the moment. When gardening, your senses are fully engaged in the sights, sounds, smells, tastes and tactile sensations of your garden.
- Cultivate hope – Marveling at how a seed or seedling grows and transforms under your care and attention can create feelings of hope and optimism.
- Peace and tranquility – Spending time in nature and tending to a garden can slow down life, build patience and generate a sense of calm.
- Connection – If successful, your garden will produce more food than you can eat. Sharing your bounty will help strengthen personal bonds with others and make you feel good inside.
Pathway Senior Living communities feature “Victory Gardens” in backyard courtyards, on rooftop patios and inside greenhouses. Residents enjoy the physical, mental and social benefits of gardening as well as the harvest, much of which is used by Culinary Experience Managers to create fresh and delicious garden-to-table cuisine.
Learn more at pathwaytoliving.com.