health benefits of gardening

The Glory of the Garden

Gardening for Seniors

The Glory of the Garden is a poem by Rudyard Kipling, and sums up my attitude to gardening nicely.

The way I read it, there is something in the garden for everyone, expert or novice.  And I fall firmly into the latter category – no green fingers here. 

Every spring I set out with great intentions, spend a fortune at my local garden centre – only to see my treasured blooms crash and burn after just a few short weeks. So the phrase “and some are hardly fit to trust with anything that grows” resonates with me.

I would imagine that I’m doing something fundamentally wrong in my planting or care technique, but try as I will I cannot improve in the horticultural stakes.

But I recognise that there are benefits to gardening for seniors beyond what actually grows, so that’s what I’m writing about – and I may yet convince myself that it’s all worth it.

The Glory Of The Garden

Benefits of gardening for seniors

Burns calories

Just one hour of gardening burns around 300 calories, making it a great moderate-intensity exercise. If you want to lose a few pounds, gardening and other types of outdoor work can help  This is especially true if you
undertake tasks that require physical exertion.  Mowing the lawn, using a spade or fork to turn over the soil, carrying plants around, and raking those leaves can all contribute to a raised heart rate and fitness.

Gardening as a hobby

The reason for my aformentioned failure in the great outdoors is that I don’t pay enough attention to it.  If I spent more time researching plant and soil types, care techniques and the whole theory of what makes things grow I know I would get better results.  That would be a bobby, and a satisfying one at that. 

Great for the mood

Aside from the physical benefits, gardening can be good for your mental health too.  Being outside in the fresh air improves your mood even if the sunshine is stubbornly absent and the soild is muddy and clinging.  Any activity  away from the couch and screen will improve your outlook on life, and a spell in the garden is a great way to spend an hour or two. And when you put down your spade, fork or lawn mower stand back for a minute and admire what you have achieved. It’s bound to be an improvement on where you started.

Stress relief

Getting rid of weeds, tidying up those borders and pruning your bushes is a great way to forget about your troubles. 

According to webmd “Gardening can make you feel more peaceful and content. Focusing your attention on the immediate tasks and details of gardening can reduce negative thoughts and feelings and can make you feel better in the moment.”

Spending time in nature has been associated with improved emotion and mood regulation.

Senior Gardener

Getting out in the sunshine

There are at least seven reasons to get outside and soak up the sun.
  • Improves your sleep. Your body creates a hormone called melatonin that is critical to helping you sleep. …
  • Reduces stress
  • Maintains strong bones
  • Helps keep the weight off
  • Strengthens your immune system
  • Fights off depression
  • Can give you a longer life

The Glory of the FGarden - conclusion

Without a doubt gardening has a place in an active retirement lifestyle. Costs are relatively modest, results can occasionally be pleasing and if you do it right you get to eat what you grow.

Gardening is a great way to lubricate those creaking joints.  It can increase blood circulation, improve balance and coordination, and enhance muscle control. For sure, the glory of the garden should feature in your retirement.