The Benefits of Gardening for Seniors

Gardening is a hobby that anyone can enjoy. As the weather heats up, though, it may a great time to get the seniors in your life involved!

You probably hear a lot about the importance of staying active. . .no matter how many birthdays you end up celebrating. While spending time at the gym, in the pool, or as part of a walking club are all great ways to get exercise and stay fit, there is another option that is sometimes overlooked: Gardening.

Growing fruits, vegetables, ornamental plants, and flowers is a wonderful option for combining physical and mental activity, while also providing you with fresh produce at the end of your growing season! Here’s a quick rundown of why gardening is one of the best activities for seniors who want to stay healthy:

  1. Exercise: Gardening allows you to get out in to the fresh air and sunshine for some low impact physical activity. Move at your own pace as you plant, tend, and harvest your garden. If you have mobility issues, choose plants that grow on trellises, which enable you to do much of your work while standing.
  2. Social interaction: Participating in a community garden is a great way to meet new people and reconnect with your neighbors. But even if you choose to garden at home, there are still ways to make gardening social. Join a gardening club in your area, invite friends and family to garden with you, or attend gardening classes offered by your neighborhood nursery.
  3. Healthy food and beautiful flowers: Gardening isn’t just about planting and tending. . .you also get to harvest what you grow. Think of how the flowers and plants that you grow will brighten your home! Plus, you’ll be able to enjoy incredibly fresh (and nutritious) vegetables and fruits at your meals.
  4. Cognitive stimulation: Both mind and body need exercise and this is particularly true for seniors. Gardening requires planning, scheduling, and a willingness to adapt to changing weather conditions. These things can help keep your mind nimble.

If you haven’t ever gardened before, don’t despair. There are plenty of options for getting started. If there is a community garden in your area, get in touch with its leadership. There is likely a program for folks who want to get involved but who are new to horticulture. Local nurseries may have classes for new gardeners, as may adult education programs and community colleges in your area.