Gardening is one of the healthiest hobbies people of all ages can develop but can be especially beneficial to those 55 and older. There are many benefits to gardening; vitamin D, strength building, better sleep habits, and provides a way to give back to your community.
Like plants, our bodies use the process of photosynthesis to absorb Vitamin D when outside. Vitamin D is crucial to a lot of different bodily functions, two of the biggest ones are strengthening your immune system as well as your bones. Vitamin D has been shown to reduce inflammation, and studies have shown that it can reduce your risk for certain diseases. Low levels have been shown to increase the symptoms of dementia. If you already spend time outside but aren’t sure about your Vitamin D levels, you can add one to your daily supplements after discussing with your doctor.
Gardening is considered exercise— you read that right! It can be anything from light to moderate exercise such as pulling weeds or trimming the grass, to vigorous exercise when shoveling, digging, and moving soil. Gardening uses every major muscle in your body! It takes a lot of effort to yield delicious results, but you could reap the benefits of working hard in the garden when it allows you to sleep better at night. A recent study has shown that when you garden, you are likely to get seven solid hours of sleep a night. Another study found that getting seven hours of sleep a night showed a decreased risk of dementia.
If your garden bed is big enough and produces enough, your local food pantries and neighbors always appreciate fresh produce. Gardening is also a great way to incorporate a wider variety of fresh produce into your diet that you may not otherwise want to purchase in the store.
An additional benefit is that gardening is a mood booster! Spending time focusing on your home crop is a great way to reduce anxiety levels and it also helps to decrease depression. If you are interested in trying gardening but don’t know where to start our team at FootPrints Home Care can get you in contact with your local hardware store or nurseries!