Gardening: Benefits and Recommendations

Gardening is a great way to get out in the fresh air and spring is a perfect time to start. This hobby is an opportunity to move your body, enjoy nature and the fruits of your labor. Gardening can be an effective tool to promote exercise, improve your mental health, decrease stress levels, and can help protect your memory.

Benefits:

Gardening is a great way to get exercise as it involves movements and activities that will help increase your muscle strength and boost independence by keeping you active and mobile. Being outside in the sun is an excellent way to get Vitamin D, which helps strengthen your bones and immune system. Additionally, regular sunshine exposure and higher levels of Vitamin D can help decrease your risk of developing diseases such as dementia, diabetes, and cancer. Furthermore, research has shown that gardening has helped protect memory. The critical thinking and physical activity that gardening requires have been linked to helping protect seniors from dementia and Alzheimers. Gardening additionally helps boost hand-eye coordination with and keeping the mind and body in sync. This can help raise your serotonin levels while decreasing cortisol, which can help manage stress levels.

Safety Tips:

Gardening is a fantastic activity to pursue to boost your physical and mental health, but it is crucial to prioritize safety when gardening. While the sun helps provide your body with Vitamin D the powerful UV rays can be dangerous, it is vital to wear sunscreen every day to protect yourself from sunburns and damage. Additionally, it is important to use the proper safety equipment when needed, especially when working with sharp tools. Make sure you have gloves, long pants, and closed-toe shoes to help protect yourself. Lastly, it is crucial to listen to your body, take breaks in the shade and drink lots of water to keep yourself hydrated. Don’t over-exert yourself and listen to your limits.

What to Plant:

When you decide to garden it is important to weigh your options and decide what you want to grow. Fruits and vegetables have stronger seasons that are important to their growth. For example, broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower are vegetables that thrive when planted in the spring. On the other hand, tomatoes and peppers flourish in the summertime. Every fruit and vegetable will have a different season, so decide what you are interested in growing and plan out when to plant. Flowers can be beautiful and thrive year-round. Native flowers are a great place to start nurturing your green thumb because they are low maintenance. This Native Plant Finder is a great resource to help you determine what to grow.

Gardening is a great hobby to pursue to boost your physical and mental health. Ensure you are picking plants that will grow well in your region to keep your garden low maintenance and successful. Don’t forget to prioritize your safety when gardening by drinking lots of water and wearing the proper garments to protect yourself. There is no wrong way to garden, whether it is a window box, your whole yard or a raised bed getting active in the sun is a great pastime.

 

For more information on gardening and its benefits look at these resources:

Health Benefits of Gardening for Seniors

Seed, Soil, and Sun: Discovering the Many Healthful Benefits of Gardening

National Gardening Day

Healthy Hive

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