Gardening is a leisure activity and may be beneficial to the elderly’s health. Working with nature is comforting. Gardening can play a key role in helping one’s emotional and physical well-being.
The American Society for Horticultural Science conducted a study to test the health benefits of gardening. Fifty elderly women from two senior community centers were selected for this study. Half of the women participated in a 50-minute session twice a week, and the other half comprised a control group. After completion of 15 sessions, the women were assessed in both groups for depression, sociality, hand function, physical, and cognitive abilities. The women in the gardening group experienced improved aerobic endurance, cognitive ability, muscle mass, hand dexterity, and decreased waist circumference. Although, the elderly women in the control group continued to have reduced age-related physical and psychological health conditions.
Additionally, 95.8% of women in the garden group expressed high reports of satisfaction with their garden experience. All that bending, kneeling, lifting, digging, and pulling paid off.
Gardening is a great way to socially connect across generations and with the great outdoors. Introducing your children or grandchildren to gardening with their own plot or help with watering (what kid doesn’t like to play with the garden hose?) can create a bond.
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Park SA et al. Gardening intervention for physical and psychological health benefits in elderly women at community centers. HortTechnology. 2016 Aug 1;26(4):474-83.