The Intriguing Health Facts about Gardening for the Elderly

In the Garden Sue Dec 22, 2023
5 People Read
gardening with Susan

The Best Reasons to Start Gardening if You are a Senior

Gardening is a great way for seniors to stay active and healthy. 

Gardening requires regular and continuous care; therefore, for older adults actively engaged with their home gardens, gardening provides opportunities for increased physical activity, which can prevent osteoporosis, reduce the risk of some cancers, Type 2 diabetes, depression and heart disease.1 These conditions can be a great burden to the health and well being of our seniors. 

vegetable garden

There are plenty of other benefits of gardening for seniors as well. In a study done by NIH, older adults took part in numerous gardening-related activities and reported that they obtained psychological, social and physical benefits. In addition, the more time spent in these activities, the more benefits accrued for participants.2 One UK study found that moderate to heavy gardening activity of four or more hours per week was associated with significantly reduced risk of morbidity and mortality rates in a sample of middle-aged and older men with cardiovascular disease.3

secret garden

The benefits of cognitive function and memory resulting from gardening intervention as a physical activity have been proven in numerous studies with dementia. This can be a great therapeutic tool for people that suffer from dementia in the community and in the home. 

Studies have reported that gardening can be an aerobic and muscular exercise. A 12-week gardening intervention improved physical functional ability, the immune system, muscle strength and flexibility, and reduced blood pressure, waist circumference, and cholesterol levels.4

raised beds and greenhouse

As a senior citizen, if you like to garden, the benefits of gardening are immense.  It has proven to help a wide variety of serious medical conditions, improve muscle strength, flexibility, decrease waist circumference and improve your mental health.  

1.Mathers CD, Vos T, Stevenson CE, et al. The burden of disease and injury in Australia. Canberra, ACT, Australia: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 1999

 2.Scott TL, Masser BM, Pachana NA. Positive aging benefits of home and community gardening activities: Older adults report enhanced self-esteem, productive endeavors, social engagement and exercise. SAGE Open Med. 2020

3. Wannamethee S, Shaper A, Walker M. Physical activity and mortality in older men with diagnosed coronary heart disease. Circulation 2000; 102: 1358–1363.

4. Park S.A., Lee A.Y., Kim D.S. Gardening Intervention for Physical and Psychological Health Benefits in Elderly Women at Community Centers. HortTechnology. 2016;26:474–483

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