Gardening for Seniors: Tips and Benefits

Seniors who have reached retirement age may find themselves with more time on their hands than they know how to fill. All the hours that they may have once devoted to working are now empty and waiting to be filled with something beneficial to themselves or others. While charity work, volunteering, music, exercise, and other hobbies provide great ways to use the body and mind, gardening is a fabulous activity for seniors who want to stay young at heart.

Gardening is a great way to get outdoors, enjoy the fresh air, and get a bit of exercise. Plus, it keeps gardeners in touch with nature, which can improve their moods. However, gardening can be notoriously hard on the body with plenty of digging, stooping, and bending. Plus, hot California sunshine and flying and crawling insects can wreak havoc on the skin. Here are a few tips for keeping gardening in California comfortable, safe, and effective.
  • Garden in the early morning hours or the evening to stay out of the hot sun.
  • Wear a large-brimmed hat to prevent sunburn.
  • Try a vertical garden or a raised bed to reduce bending and stooping.
  • Use a stool for gardening in the ground.
  • Use an irrigation system to reduce daily watering by hand.

Many fail to realize that gardening is actually a form of exercise for seniors. It is great for burning calories and for remaining flexible. In addition, it can improve some of the symptoms of common chronic diseases while providing great relaxation for seniors who love being out in nature. Here are just a few of the many benefits that seniors can reap from gardening.

  • It promotes mobility, physical endurance, and overall strength.
  • It decreases stress and may improve mood.
  • It is a stimulating activity, both mentally and physically.
  • It can produce nutritious fruits and vegetables, depending on the type of garden.
  • It may reduce the risk of dementia.

Seniors who have been completely inactive for a long stretch of time should check with their personal physicians before beginning any new physical activities, including active gardening. In addition, they should stop and rest if they notice any sudden pains, a sense of dizziness or extreme fatigue, especially when working in the California sun. However, when performed wisely with some modifications for their needs, gardening is a great activity for Irvine seniors to engage in this summer.

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